Welcome to the Dark Side

     The Dark Side. Emotional wear and tear.  Let’s talk about that. 

     I’ve tried to write about this before, attacking the subject badly from three or four different angles, but none of the drafts made it to publication because I found them all lacking.  I’m going to try again.

      At my job at the Studio, I have close encounters with the sexuality of complete strangers.  That sexuality is usually, to use a value-neutral description, not normal.  I very seldom meet a man there who wants to have an experience that could easily be done with his wife or girlfriend, or an escort or a stripper.  I’m in the business of not-normal.  Usually I just call it “weird.” 

     Close encounters of the weird kind.

     Weird can be a lot of fun.  It is almost always fascinating to me, which I really like–whatever else it is, this work sure as hell ain’t boring. There’s never a dull day at the office.  

      Know what else weird can be..?

      Fucking nerve-wracking. 

      It is nerve-wracking to walk through that door and come face-to-face with a stranger and the most private aspects of his personality.  I almost never get stage fright anymore, but a faint case of nerves–similar to the anticipation of meeting a blind date for the first time–is very common.  It’s not easy, because let me tell you: you never know what you’re going to get. 

      And not everyone is there to have a good time. 

      Boundaries are crucial to maintain one’s well-being and peace of mind in this work.  This is ironic, because Topping frequently involves the aggressive violation of normal boundaries.  It’s what they hire me for.  In any other context, a many of the things I do–especially the stuff I’m really good at, like violence–would be transparently abusive and even criminal. I don’t think that anyone else in society gets to do this (or has to do it) legally except for law enforcement officers.  

      If one is prone to rumination, as I am, one just might find themselves laying awake at night every now and again, pondering the difference between real violence and fake violence, real abuse and fake abuse.  Because I don’t care what anyone else says–consent is not some magical substance that, when sprinkled liberally upon all participating parties, absolves everyone from personal responsibility and pathology.  I hear this argument a lot.  It’s never impressed me.  Consent can render the obscene and criminal acceptable and permissible.  It does not automatically make an activity wholesome.  That is not a popular opinion, but I believe it is accurate.  

      “Sadomasochism isn’t real.  It’s role-play.”  Well, yes and no.  It’s true that I never hurt anyone who didn’t want to be hurt.  Consent makes it a game, but it doesn’t make it pretend.  It’s largely an act, at least on my end of the dynamic, but that doesn’t mean that it’s make-believe.  We aren’t children playing House. It’s not fake if you really do it. 

       Let’s lighten the mood a bit, and use a humorous example: remember Milton, the guy I gave a swirly?  That was a goofy role-play scenario.  But the fact remains that I gave the dude a swirly.  

        Working as a prodomme (or, sometimes, a prosub) is sort of like being a professional entertainer in some wacky fantasyland hospitality industry.  It’s not like the S&M I practice in my private life with my boyfriends.  At the Studio, I’m a Service Top, meaning that most of the activities I do there are not my idea.  It’s drive-through domination, man–“Hi, Miss Margo!  Nice to meet you!  Can I get you to make copies of these bank statements and threaten to blackmail me with them, and kick me in the nuts, Puh-leeze?  Oh–in red boots.  Do you have red boots?  Thanks!  Can we make this fast?  I have to return some video tapes!” 

       Now, the good thing about this–most of it not being my idea–is that I have little emotional investment in it.  I can easily keep healthy boundaries (although, if you want to do a good job, you have to establish and maintain an emotional connection with the other person.  Nobody wants mechanical.).  

       The bad thing about this is that, well…you never know what you’re going to get. 

       And not everyone is there to have a good time. 

       I’ve only had a handful of truly bad experiences, thank God, and most of them took place when I was just starting out–before I knew how to exert control and protect myself.  Before I knew what some people are capable of.  It really sucks, but in this business, you usually learn lessons the hard way.  

       Only a handful of truly bad experiences…but there have been other times when the weirdness takes a turn for the creepy.  Not bad or dangerous, necessarily, but creepy.  I brought this up at the Studio the other day, and every woman in the room knew exactly what I was describing, even though we’d never talked about it together before.  

       Usually it happens to me when, for whatever reason, I get a huge flash of empathy with someone I suddenly realize is, to put it diplomatically, disordered.   I don’t mean neurotic or eccentric or, shit, even full-on loony-toons here–we’re all at least a little strange, or else we wouldn’t be there, after all.  I mean someone who’s sick, and I realize it and get an idea of what made them that way.  

        It’s a jolt.  A nasty one.  Welcome to the haunted house. 

       It take a little while to decompress from moments like those.  I come home, take a shower, watch a movie, play with Parrot, call a friend.  Normalcy returns.  But I can’t un-see what I saw.  I’ve had lots of different jobs, and this is the only one where I have seen and heard things that I honestly wish I had not.  That’s a fact.  The Awful Truth. 

       Happened to me last week.  Maybe that’s why I’m thinking about it again.  Perhaps I ought to write about it.  Not sure.

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