Thursday, October 07, 2004


So, a large box arrived at my house yesterday. Max and I did some shopping in New York and we decided to ship a bunch of stuff home, instead of schlepping it all through the airports. I'm a big fan of shipping stuff home, it’s so nice to make at least one leg of a trip with minimum encumbrances.

I did buy a bunch of cute everyday stuff at H&M, which is a Swedish chain store that's rather like the Ikea of clothing – tons of stuff, low prices, and while it's not heirloom-quality, it's fine for what it is. I wish they'd open one here.

But otherwise, we were fetish shopping. I decided to take a couple of quickie snapshots of what we bought - they're not up to my usual photographic standard, but they'll do...

Remember me bitching about Demask's badly-designed website? When Max and I found out we'd be going to NY, I decided to wait and go shopping in person. Here's what I bought…

That's a really sexy little black latex dress, and a white leather bra-top.
The thing under the bra is an inflatable gag – meaning, you use that bulb on the end to pump up the part that's inside someone's mouth. Makes talking really difficult!
That's a very nasty little whip, it's made out of flexible plastic strands, and you can run it through the dishwasher to clean it, which is good, because I plan on using it on girl-bits and I imagine it'll get rather sticky. Someone loaned me this exact whip a while back when I was in doing a scene with Jae, and it was extremely effective. So I'm pleased to have found one for my own. I suppose it would work rather well on boy bits, too, hmm?
There's a nice thuddy little leather paddle, very heavy, and that toy that looks a bit like a lollypop? Well, I'm not sure what to call it. It's an intriguing sort of crop-like-thingie, with a round rubber disk on the end. I bought it mainly because I hadn't ever seen anything quite like it. It's not terribly severe, but I thought it might leave interesting-shaped welts, if wielded with enthusiasm.
That's what I got at DeMask!

I also bought some really yummy leather pants, although I'm not sure this pic does them justice.

They're smooth, heavy, full-grain leather, unlined, so I can feel the hide against me. The shop we got them at, The Leatherman, makes them on the premises and then custom-tailors them to you when you buy them. So when I tried them on, the cutest little Latino boy came and knelt in front of me and sort pinched and plucked at me, showing me where he'd take them in to fit me better. The result is quite nice, I think.

But while they were perfectly nice to me at The Leatherman, I was merely a distraction before the main event. As is always the way when we shop at stores primarily aimed at (and staffed by) gay men, Max was the center of attention. And who can blame them, when he tried on these pants?

He certainly had my full and undivided attention. The nice men helping us – every employee in the whole shop, I think – were anxious to assure Max that is that particular codpiece wasn't to his liking, that they had a vast selection he could choose from. Zip-up, lace-up, metal-mesh-covered, piped with different colors, et cetera. They just snap right on, you see. And they snap right off, too. You know, for easy access. Did he want to experiment with different ones, or…?

Max decided to go with the plain leather. But he did have the cute Latino boy fit the pants very carefully to him. I swear that boy spent fifteen minutes playing with Max's pants leg. He wanted to get the break just right. Of course, the fact that he had his face a few inches away from this may have had something to do with it...

Max, of course, was flirting a little with all the guys, as he always does. He likes gay men, and he enjoys being lusted after by them. (I frequently call him a cock-tease.) I know Max sometimes feels mildly embarrassed about being so completely heterosexual. I mean – straight men. They get a bad rap, don't they? And a straight dominant man? Oh, that’s a club a lot of kinksters like to trash on.

Max says, "I keep waiting for my dick to get hard for some submissive boy, and it just hasn't happened yet. If it did, I'd go there, but since it hasn't…" So he just flirts, and sometimes he ties boys up, if they ask nicely. But the codpiece will probably not be coming off for anyone with facial hair. (Although you never know...)

I think that's our show for today…

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I'm still getting email responses to a Stranger column I wrote two week ago, A Life In Sex Work, and that's a bit out of the ordinary. Apparently a number of people found it thought-provoking.

A lot of the email I'm getting about it seems to center around the idea that I'm a very unusual sex worker. Now, I don't mind people thinking I'm unique in some ways, because, hey, aren't we all. But some of messages I'm getting about what these people think is so unique about me isn't exactly…well, flattering.

No, I am actually not a crack/heroin/cocaine/prescription drug addict. I hear that you find that amazing, and I'm glad to have raised your consciousness about sex workers a tiny bit. Like certain conservative radio talk show hosts, I have done some recreational drugs in my time. But never to excess, and when I stop and think, I realize – wow, it’s been years since I did anything like that. For that matter, I very rarely drink alcohol, and I don't smoke, either.

No, I am not the victim of a ruthless pimp. I've met a few people who claimed to be pimps in my time - but only a few. I've never had one myself and I've never had another woman tell me, "I have a pimp". I've worked at places where there was some pointing and whispering about girls who supposedly did, and that's about the extent of my acquaintance with that.
(I have met a lot of women who were financially supporting unemployed boyfriends. But I can't say too much about that, because I've supported a couple of unemployed girlfriends. Just about every sex worker I know I has done this with a lover at one point or another.)

But no, I am not supporting children whose father has run out on us. I know women who are, but I'm thinking they'd have less time to write than I do. I've chosen not to procreate in this lifetime, thank you.

Let's see, what are some of the other stereotypes? Well, I was never abused or molested as a child, by my family or anyone else. Overall, my childhood was so Leave-It-To-Beaver that it's almost sickening. Stay-at-home-Mom, private schools, a house on the lake, and my Daddy bought me a pony when I was eleven. So my family has a few areas of weirdness, but nothing out of the ordinary.

I've never been raped by a client - or by anyone else, for that matter. I've never had a client harm me or make an overt threat to harm me. On a few occasions, a long time ago, I have been with clients who made me think, "Wow, this guy is balanced right on the edge of some serious craziness, and I should be very, very careful with him, or he’ll just lose it." And so I was, and I got away clean.

I'm actually not unique in any of these traits - I know other sex workers who tab up with my experiences fairly closely. But opening one's mind has to begin somewhere, and I do enjoy shaking up people's notions of the world. So thanks, dear letter writers, for letting me know I did that…

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Okay, don't get me wrong – I like Kerry, I'm voting for Kerry, but this is a very funny little bit… How do I get the job of hitting the buzzer? I love tormenting really intellectual men, it gets them so delightfully flustered.
John Kerry's debate prep session - as imagined by Harry Shearer. (Audio.)

Monday, October 04, 2004

Social Updates...

The bondage class yesterday was great. We had a nice turn out, everyone seemed to grasp the material, the rather rickety table I was standing on for some of the demos actually did not collapse under me as I was slightly afraid it might, and the whole thing just went smoothly.
When it was over, I gathered up Roman and his wife and Jake and his companion and half a dozen other people, and we all went down to Louie's for Chinese food, before heading back to the bondage party  There was a lot of eye candy overall last night, which was cool.
And having Max AND Jake AND Roman all together did not prove problematic for me at all, except in that very nice wow-there-are-a-lot-of-people-I'd-like-to-give-my-attention-to kinda way. They're all three so cool, and they just handle things so well, I'm so impressed with all of them. (I even enjoyed watching Jake spend some time immersed in conversation with - well, I believe she goes by Milan here in blog-land. )

And The Next Event... In response to a rather last-minute request, this Tuesday night I'm going to be appearing on a show called "SexLife Live" to discuss the topic: "Pain as Pleasure".
I've heard sort of vaguely about this show, but I didn't really know anything about it, so when the host, Dane Ballard, emailed me and asked me to be on it, I asked him to explain a bit about it. This is what he said:

The show is filmed in front of a live studio audience. (Anywhere from 50 to 100 people). We do post production work on the tape and then the tape will be available within a few days in the archive of the website. Right now there are no shows in the archive because our shows in September (our first three shows) are being compiled for a promotional piece. They were sort of our pilot episodes. Anyway they will still run but this is the first show that will run in it's entirety on the website. Also, starting in December, we will be running our shows on Local Cable. So the show we tape tonight will not only be available online... but in a couple months will be running on local TV as well.It's a discussion between you and me, (and any other guest) though we survey the audience for questions from them, we also have a booth where we might have people who can ask questions during the show... But it would be for a very short period of time. Mostly it's you and I talking about the subject.

Now you know as much as I know. Mr. Ballard also said, "This show is more of a S&M overview, future shows will be about more specific areas of SM & BDSM." Well, frankly, the concept of "pain as pleasure" is actually a very specific topic. If he wants a SM 101 thing, I can do that, but that ain't an SM 101 concept. So I am going to ask him to clarify precisely what topic he's looking for.
I have no idea what to expect from this whole thing, but I'm a girl who can handle most anything and I have a lot of experience talking about sex and kink in public forums. I figure I'll just go wing it, and it'll be whatever it is. I don't think it'll be a hostile venue, but I don't expect it to be a crowd that's very savvy about BDSM, so I'm expecting to spend most of my time debunking the popular BDSM stereotypes. I'm good at that. So if you're in Seattle, I invite you to come and check it out.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Text of an email I received after yesterdays post…

I don't know how you can call yourself a mistress when you post links of pictures of yourself in bondage as you have done today. It's really unfair to those of us who are true Mistreses, and I think if you are really an honest person as you try to put yourself forth then you should change your name. You are doing a diservice to us real Mistresses.

It blathers on for a bit, but that's the main thrust of it…

Where to begin with emails like this? First off, the woman pictured on this page, the URL you included in your email, is not me. That's a picture of Maura, Max's submissive. There is a rather superficial resemblance – we're very roughly the same height, weight and hair color and age – but it ain't me.

However, let's address the spirit of what you're saying. Now, if you've read my blog for any length of time, you've gotta know I care less than nothing about upholding any kind of "true Mistress" crap, so I don't know why you're pulling that one out on me. "Mistress Matisse" is my professional name – it refers to my career as a dominatrix. I don't expect people I meet socially to address me as Mistress, unless they are negotiating for a scene with me.

Not being a switch does not confer any magic status upon someone. If being only a top or only a bottom makes you happy, that's just fine with me. But if you try to set yourself up as somehow being more "real and true" than someone who switches, you're deluding yourself. If I'm a "true" anything, I'm a true BDSM person - and I usually describe myself as a top because that's most often how I relate to other BDSM people. But I think dominance and submission are points on a scale, not absolute black/white distinctions. Hell, I'm bisexual, too, so you can't really expect me to embrace a binary system. (Being poly probably doesn't help, either.)

It's always amazing to me when people take on a sexually deviant identity and then try to set up restrictive rules about how that identity must be expressed. Hey, if you want to create an inflexible structure for yourself, I'm cool with that, although I might scratch my head over it privately. Why would you bother leaving behind other people's repressive rules just to straight-jacket yourself all over again?
However, the idea that you can inflict your rules of identity on me is laughable. To me, that would be the ultimate submission – letting someone else decide how I could and could not express my sexuality. I'm far too dominant for that!

What's really amusing to me is this - there actually is a very artsy picture of me with my wrists all wrapped up on rope on Jon McDermott's site. I've done art/bondage modeling on a number of occasions, and I have no problem showing the pictures. Here's one, and here's another….I think they're gorgeous shots. And I'm much too secure in my identity to have the slightest qualm about showing them.

I have a stock answer for any in-person remarks I get on this issue, and that is: no one who has bottomed to me has ever expressed any doubt about who was in charge in my dungeon. I'm quite confident no one ever will.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Some observations on professional dominatrixes and the men who see them, by a non-professional female dominant. I don't agree with everything she says, but she's clearly put some thought into this, and she does make a few valid points.

Hey, I'll vote for that..."Orgies are the way to ease social tensions", claims US judge...

My friend Jon McDermott has an art show going right now, and you should all go see it, he does beautiful hand-colored black and white photographs. The show is at Gallery 154 in Freemont, 154 N 35th Street, and the show runs through November 4th and Gallery 154 is open on Sundays from 11-5pm or by appointment (206/335-7567).

Last Reminder: Max's ultra-fabulous "Fundamentals of Rope Bondage" class is tomorrow at the Wet Spot. If you have the slightest interest in rope bondage, you should not miss it - and be sure and say hi to me...

Friday, October 01, 2004

Email From A Self-Fired Client

Dear Mistress Matisse,

My name is (DELETED) and I had the great privilege of meeting with you for a session about six months ago. I had a wonderful time and as I left, I told you that I'd be calling you again soon. I guess you're wondering why I never did.

Actually I'm not. Most guys who come to see me say, "I'll call you," as they leave - it seems to be something of a reflex. And since about 75% of my clients these days are repeat clients, they usually do. I don't keep records of any kind – that's always a bad idea in sex work – but for a certain group of my really good regular guys, I do have a sort of a mental calendar of, "Hmmn, I haven't seen him for a little while, I bet he'll be calling soon…"

But I do see some new clients, and there are plenty of one-shot wonders in the world of sex-work. So if I've only had one session with you – well, once you walk out the door, you'll pretty much walk out of my head.

I had an amazing time with you, and you're beautiful, so much more beautiful than your pictures even suggest. After I left and the pleasure of the time with faded, I began to wonder what you thought about me. I'm older and I know I'm not in the best shape. I know I can't do a lot of the things I see people doing on the web in terms of heavy whipping and stuff. I just realized that I probably wasn't the most attractive submissive for you. So I didn't call you back because I didn't want to be one of those clients you just sort of put up with.

I get this sometimes – they guys who need reassurance that they're fun play-partners. I understand needing some feedback, that's an okay thing to ask for. But I have a feeling that a little reassurance isn't going to suffice in this situation. And again – if I've only met you once, six months ago, there are limits to how willing and able I will be to lavish you with praise and encouragement.

I would really love to come see you again. Can you possibly find a man like me attractive? Are there ways I can please you even though I'm not the most advanced submissive?

The answers are, in order: I have no idea if I can find you attractive, since I don't remember who the hell you are and you've furnished me with absolutely no clues to help me remember you. And: yes, there probably are. But you'll have to trust me that I like what I'm doing, and that seems to be a difficult thing for you.

I want so much to please you, Mistress. I know you don't usually allow your subs to have intimate contact with you, but I would happily service you in any manner that you desire. I don't wish to sound like I'm bragging but I am told I have some talent in this area.

Okay, now we're moving from "needy but polite" territory into the "yeah, you wish, buddy" area. He's willing to demonstrate what a good submissive he is by partaking of a privilege I haven't granted him? Oh, that's impressive. Not.

So even thought I may not be a handsome young stud anymore, we older guys can have our place, don't you think, Mistress?

This is amusing, considering I won't even see clients under thirty, and the majority of my clientele is over forty. I much prefer it that way – I got more than enough of having to deal with raw young boys when I worked in strip clubs. My oldest client to date? Seventy-seven. And let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, his age was a lusty winter. No blue pills required, either. God bless horny older men.

I really want to please you, Mistress, so I hope that there is something I can do to make you like me and want to play with me. I just don't want to be another boring submissive to you, I want to be special. I hope you will write me back and tell me some things you would like me to do to please you in our next session, Mistress. I will be waiting for your instruction.

And that's it. He signs his first name and sends it.

This is one of those letters that inspires a mixture of pity and annoyance. Of course he wants to feel liked and feel special. Everyone wants that.
But trying to get that from a sex worker that you saw once, six months ago, is pathetic. I sell blocks of my professional time, but you cannot buy my affection and respect, that has to be earned and it takes time.
This does tug at me a little, because I do try to make people feel like they're pleasing me when they have a session with me. However, when I re-read his email, it seems like I did - but that the writer talked himself of out of believing that after he left, and what that suggests to me is that he's got a touch of the Mr. Defensive thing happening. I've seen this before – there are some guys who, as long as they have your attention, feel happy and liked, but as soon as they leave, they start tearing the whole experience apart in their head. So even if they become regulars, you can't really establish a baseline of emotional connection with them. You have to start all over again creating the bubble of intimacy and trust every single time they come in. I'm not unwilling to do it, but they're robbing themselves of one of the benefits of seeing the same Mistress.
I haven't decided if I'll write this guy back or not. I'm inclined not to, just because he seems so needy, and I'm busy enough not to particularly need him as a client. But maybe if he calls, I'll try to talk to him and how I feel about it…