Friday, November 03, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I've gotten a slew of letters from people wanting sex-work advice lately. So tomorrow, look for a lengthy post answering them.

But today, the new column.

And I just have to mention this...I got a manicure yesterday and got my nails painted a deep red. Now, I think the last time I had a manicure was for my wedding. That was 1999. I am not a girl who bothers much about my fingernails. I think it's a holdover from my days as a lesbian. (Not that I don't know femme lesbians with nails that would put Barbra Streisand to shame.)

I used to paint my toenails, but some of my more enthusiastic foot-worshippers kept chipping the polish with their teeth. I had to patch it a lot, and plus I thought eating the polish couldn't be good for them. So I stopped.

However, one of my good clients, Jet, expressed a wish to see me with painted nails, and gave me a gift certificate to my salon to have that done. So I did. And it worked out so that I went straight from the salon to a session with him, and he liked it, so that was all just fine.

But now I have these red nails. I cannot recall ever having had my nails this color before. It's pretty, but it's sort of weird. My hands look like someone else's. Max looked at them and said, "Huh. Well, that's a different look for you."

I'm very concious of them - I'm sort of walking around with like, jazz hands, because I don't want to chip the polish, although it's inevitable that I will, of course.

I suppose I just want to acknowledge the girls who do this every day - this seems like a lot of work. Wow. I don't know how you manage it. I'm impressed.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Unconnected Musings

Fashion: Saturday night I did something I thought I’d never do again: I tucked my skinny jeans into my tall boots. Now, I was a little girl last time this was really fashionable, but I do remember it, and I remember how it can sometimes be a disastrously bad fashion choice, if one doesn’t get the proper combination of boots, pants, and hips. You must get dressed and then get a second mirror, so that you can take a good long look at your behind in a full-length mirror. And then one must be brutally honest with oneself about whether it’s really flattering.

I decided to take the plunge. I figured, hey, I’m going out to dinner on Broadway, and it’s Halloween weekend. People will just think it’s my costume. I was conscious that if I wore the funky little black fake-fur jacket I picked up in Chicago and teased my hair out a bit, I’d look exactly like every street hooker ever portrayed in a 70’s-80’s made-for-TV movie. So I decided not to. Being a hooker for Halloween is such a cliché.

Max liked it, so that was reassuring. But I still felt a little odd. I suppose it’s how my mother would feel if beehive hairdos came back into style. It’s the vague sense that while I want to keep my look fresh, I cannot claim ignorance if I wear this and wind up looking like a fashion Don’t, because I should know better.

But now, help me out, sharp-eyed readers. Is this coat the same as this coat? They look awfully alike. And I need to make a choice here, because one of my favorite guys (who I will hereby dub Armani, because he’s definitely one of the best-dressed man of my acquaintance) has said he wants to buy me a coat for my birthday. I think one of these is the one I want. I want him to look at it, because Armani knows from clothes when it comes to women, too. But really – are these the same thing?

Podcasts: I may start doing podcasts. I’ve been considering it, and one of the reasons I like the idea is that it’s something Max could do with me. He won’t blog, no matter how much I nag him, and he doesn’t want his picture floating around the web, but I think he’d be willing to talk, if I get the system in place, get the headset on him and ask him questions. I’m sure I’d have Roman on sometimes too, and we could have other guests, as well. It wouldn’t be an everyday thing, but I think I could put out something semi-regularly.

I haven’t decided about buying software and hosting it myself vs paying a specialized hosting company. In general, I'm a girl who doesn't mind paying for convenience, so I'd lean towards the hosting thing. But I'm concerned about getting into a TOS snarl because of course, I'll be talking about adult stuff.

A sharp-witted friend suggestion I ask The Stranger about hosting it for me, which I am going to do. Max said I might also ask Babeland – both outfits I’d be perfectly happy to plug in return for hosting.

Thoughts or suggestions about podcasting from active podcasters? Gray, I looked at the site for the software you seem to be using, and Minx, I saw that you're using a hosting company, yes? Anyone else want to weigh in?

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Girls on Film

Every few weeks someone sends me an email that says something like, “Hey, how come you don’t make DVDs? It would be so cool, and you’d make lots of money.” And I noticed that Roman was getting some of the same remarks after he posted his video clips the other day.

Well, kids, I did produce a fetish video of my own*- about six years ago. And that’s how I know I’m not interested in making another anytime soon. Why? A lot of work. Legal risks. And not much profit.

See, at the beginning, I connected with a very cool guy with a lot of video experience, and we put together a concept. The technical end of lights, camera and sound was his job. I was the star, of course, but at the same time I was also the writer, the director and the producer, plus I also found all the talent.

And I discovered that being all those things was a lot of work. And I mean work, too, not like playing with my clients. I was surprised by that, because the co-stars were all pals of mine, and they were all just great. But when we were shooting, I could not relax and get into it, I had to direct from in front of the camera. It was not fun, it was not a turn-on, it was just - work. Max could tell you how cranky and exhausted I was after a day of shooting. This is how I know I was not supposed to be in show business.

So I was immensely relieved when we had all the footage we needed. And then my partner said, oh, we need some interview footage of you. So I did that. Redeeming social value and all, you know, have to cover one’s ass.

My partner went into his editing bay and in time produced a really nicely done, professional-looking video that we were both quite proud of. I have nothing to complain of on that score, he did a very good job.

He got two hundred tapes made and gave them to me. This was back when Paypal would still process payments for sexy things, so I put up a page on my site, and waited for the orders. Meanwhile, my partner hunted around to see what he could find out about getting it distributed on a wider scale.

Long story short: we couldn’t get a distributor. Since there isn’t any actual fucking in my video, just BDSM play, I can’t say I was hugely surprised.

Then, Paypal announced it would no longer process payments for anything even slightly adult. I tried other payment processing systems, but they all proved hard to use and unreliable, and people were understandably reluctant to trust them with their financial information. I considered getting a merchant account, but the costs were prohibitive and at that time, the credit card companies were levying heavy fees and complex rules on adult accounts. Going through all that to sell three or four forty-dollar videos a month would be absurd.

Next, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the DOJ made sweeping changes to the 2257 Regulations and declared war on porn. The legal challenge to the new law is still churning through the courts, I believe, but right now there’s no way I can fullfill all the legal requirements for adult entertainment record-keeping. The whole situation is very intimidating – just as it’s meant to be – and I don’t want to deal with it.

In the end, I sold those two hundred videos, which means I made my expenses back, and a little profit - the equivalent of about a week's gross in my regular life. Not exactly big bucks, when I think about how many hours of my time I put in for that money - some of it time in which I could have been seeing clients.

So another video? Let’s see, it’s a lot of work, and not that much fun, and not that much money. I have no easy, inexpensive way to collect payments for it. And I’d be plunging into a legal maelstrom of regulations, red tape, and repressive laws. Yeah. Not such a great idea from where I sit. Not when I make a very nice living, doing stuff I like to do, without having to worry about the feds coming to investigate me.

I suppose there’s a very slim chance I could do another one - after the next presidential election, if we elect someone less insane than the current crew. Even then I’d probably just do downloads, rather than fuss with shipping a physical product. And they would be - how shall I say? – informal. I’d say to the cameraman, “Look, I’m going to get kinky with my friend here, and you just shoot us. Stay out of my way, don’t talk to me, and whatever we get, we get. But I’m not going to try to act or perform for the camera.”

However, it definitely won’t be anytime soon.

(*Yes, on VHS. No, it’s not available on DVD. No, sorry, you can’t buy one, I sold the ones I had and I’m not getting any more made.)