Friday, February 20, 2009

A clever reader sent me this letter...
I think I can claim to have read all your blog archives, and would never presume to advise you about topics to bring up (waaaait for it!), I did want to ask you, though, if you had seen the film Holy Smoke, by Jane Campion and if you'd ever thought about podcasting/blogging about the amazing exploration of power exchange that goes on between its two main characters. Aside from the explicit message about coming into your power and learning not to abuse it, the script deftly demonstrates how fun it can be when "who's on top" is continually renegotiated, how physically overpowering someone isn't necessarily as effective as verbally cutting to the quick (Harvey Keitel to Kate Winslet: "Your physical superiority makes you unkind"), and how knowing one's own boundaries is always of utmost importance. Oh! And don't let me forget pissing as an act of submission! Just such a great film for every kind of kink - even if your kink is no kink.

Darlin', I think you did just blog about it!

And yes, I have seen the film. I thought it was well-acted, well-written, and occasionally hilarious (like the scene where the shallow flirtatious mother allows her cavorting child to do a face-plant into the dirt because she's preening for an indifferent man.) It has some hot, sexy moments, and it's generally very intense and gripping.

(Question: does Harvey Keitel demand a frontal nude scene in every role he takes? Not that I object, I'm just wondering.)

Like pretty much every movie I've ever seen that explores kink themes, I would not point to these characters and say, "Here are some great dominant/submissive role models!" No. Keitel and Winslet are playing flawed and damaged people, and a lot of the way they interact is far from emotionally healthy.

But still, it's a good movie even for the non-kinky, and I know that BDSM people will appreciate the themes woven into it. Consider it recommended!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Complete and unedited email...

Hi Mistress my name is slave X.Hi ave this fantasy from a long time to get a permanent damage in a cbt torture session from a bieutifull goddess like you .My offer is this i live in canada montreal to be more presice my offer is this i can send you a first class airplane tickets plus all your expense pay with hotel food and avery thing you need and i will pay you 10000 in canadian dollars for a 2 hours session of cbt , face kicking ,busting and body and head trample .this is a serious offer if your intresting or if its not enough money lets me no your price is my price tank you for your time slave X.sorry for my english im french and im learning

Wow, this is rather painful to read. But I give him credit where it’s due: his English is better than my French. And I have certainly heard from native English speakers who write just as badly as this.

So I am going to try, for a moment, to assume that his mistakes are in words rather than intent. The fact that he’s trying to negotiate a heavy BDSM scene in a language he doesn’t speak well is a mistake in itself, though. BDSM is a thing you want to be able to negotiate very precisely. That way, you ask NOT to get “permanent damage”.

Also – face kicking? That’s one I hadn’t heard. Unless we’re talking tiny foot-taps, that sounds like a bad idea.

Now let’s talk about that ten thousand dollars. Only we can’t, because it doesn’t exist. This is where my kind assumption that the oddities of this email are language-based break down. Either this man mistakenly tapped in one too many zeros, or – and frankly I think this is more likely – the whole thing is a crazy wanker fantasy.

What makes it crazy? To me, seriously asking for permanent damage = crazy. And also because no sane person is going to pay me five thousand dollars an hour. I’m good, but honey, ain’t nobody that good. Permanent damage? I’d have to kill you, and then raise you from the dead, to warrant that kind of tab.

There is an extremely small chance that the writer of this email, while crazy, does indeed have ten thousand dollars which he’d give me if I got in the room with him and tried to do him permanent damage. But that’s an extremely, extremely small chance indeed.

And you know what? I still wouldn’t do it. Because I don’t deal with crazy people, no matter how much money they offer me. I don't permanently damage people, either.

I get emails like this all the time. Most sex workers do. If you’re a woman who’s new to the industry, take note: If a stranger offers you a unreasonably huge sum of money for what sounds like very little in return, 99.9% of the time, you won’t get it. Chances are you’ll wind up having wasted time and energy chasing it, and sometimes even spent money of your own trying to make the date happen. (“Oh, I’m transferring funds from overseas and they got held up, can you get your own plane ticket and I’ll reimburse you….” Just like the Nigerian scams, only different.)

Note: I am not speaking of getting gifts from someone you know. I have been the fortunate recipient of some incredibly generous gifts from people I had relationships with, and I know other women who have as well. So yes, that happens. But not from a total stranger.

I suppose somewhere in the world, there have been a few Indecent Proposal-type scenarios that were real, but I have never seen one come true. Ever. (And look at all the drama Demi Moore went through with that, anyway.) The writers are either crazy people, or it’s someone deliberately playing games with a carrot on a stick.

It’s a fantasy to have a stranger appear and offer you a large sum of cash. But remember all those children’s stories about magical creatures who offer ordinary people three wishes, or a genie in a bottle? But somehow those wishes, those magic powers, they never turned out like the user wanted, did they? There was always a trick or a sting in them. The lesson of those stories was: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. So beware the modern-day version of trolls under a bridge.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

First off, thank you to all the nice people who sent me that small avalanche of "happy blog-anniversary" emails yesterday. That was very sweet.

Here's another podcast from me and Monk. Sometimes we have letters to answer, or a specific topic to address, but on this one we got off into a discussion about fashion. Thus, it's a rarity: a podcast that actually contains no sex-with-lawn-gnomes jokes, and seems to be pretty safe for work. (Although I have no idea if anyone really listens to me at work. I mean, aren't you supposed to be working? I have never had an office job in my life, so that whole world is very strange and mysterious to me.)

Anyway, listen to us chat about style icons, rubber dresses, kilts, kimonos, and schoolgirl outfits.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A milestone: as of yesterday, I have been blogging for five years.

Five years. That feels like a long time. I had no idea, when I started, that this blog would become such a defining part of Mistress Matisse. But it has. I have often wondered what would have happened if I’d started blogging anonymously. Would I have as many readers? Would I have been outed by now, or would I have been able to remain a mystery? And what would I have said, and not said, differently? I’ll never know.

I’ve been writing for The Stranger for about eight years, and between that column and this, I have a lot of words out there in the world. (Plus there’s the podcasts, and a few video clips here and there.) There are good sides and bad sides to that. If you want to get to know me, there’s a lot of information available. If you’re wondering about an issue that might fall under my umbrella of expertise, search around a bit, chances are I’ve talked about it.

Or, if you want something to be offended about, you can just cherry-pick through the archives, and I’m sure you can find something I’ve said that you think is reprehensible. I actually don’t subscribe to the idea that “if you don’t piss people off, you aren’t doing it right.” But as even-handed as I think I’m being, some people seem determined to be offended. Which I find baffling… but hey, if that’s what you get off on, enjoy yourselves. I have weird hobbies too.

I admit that some days I think, “Oh god, I have to blog. I don’t want to, I have nothing to say, I don't feel like writing... but I have to put something up.” My relationship with this blog is sometimes a bit like the one Seymour had with his blood-sucking alien plant in Little Shop of Horrors. It’s brought me a lot of great things – and great people – but it does suck up a lot of my personal juice.

But over the years, I’ve learned to worry less about it – I don’t check my hit counts every day, like I once did, or obsess about Technocrati ranks. Internet fame is an ephemeral thing. If you try to hang your hat on it, you’ll just make yourself crazy. As a blogger, I’ve learned a lot about just doing the best I can, and being gentle with myself for not always doing moremoreMORE.

Having the Twitter feed does makes me a feel a bit less derelict in my duty when I play hooky. It also allows me to have some back-and-forth with people, without having the flood of comment-spam and hate-bombers that the comment feature unfortunately devolved into. I’m interested in doing more podcasting, too, and I’m also intrigued by this application, as brought to my attention by the clever Violet Blue: 12seconds video. So you may be seeing some of that in the near future…

It’s hard to know how this blog will end. Perhaps fashions in internet communications will evolve and render blogs obsolete. Or maybe I’ll just wake up one day and realize I’m done with it. But for now, I’m still here. We’ll see what the next five years brings.