Dear Miss Margo: How Can I Get Started in the Biz?

       My landlord has been asking, in a nervous and polite fashion, if I intend to renew my lease.  He says that he wants me to stay and will not raise the rent if I do.  

        I told him that I had to think about it a while longer.  The paperwork that he gave me says that he needs to know within 30 days.  

        He will get his answer exactly….30 days from now.  I am going to hold it until the eagle screams.  And if I do end up moving, I will not help him in his efforts to show this place to new renters.  When I know he intends to bring them over for a viewing, I’m going to leave S&M equipment all over the coffee table and totally exaggerate the size and aggression of the vermin.  And he’s gonna cough up every penny of my damage deposit–I took watermarked timestamped photos of every inch of this place before I moved in a single box of my stuff.  

       Who’s the worried little bitch now, you torturing scumbag?  Remember what you put me through for being slightly late with the rent four or five times out of 24 months?  The way you shook me down was deplorable.  Demanding six months’ rent up front!  

       I invite my readers join me as I bask in the toasty warmth of a good happy gloat.  

                    *                    *                     *                      * 

       I get email and comments from time to time from women who are curious about breaking into the Biz (they always surprises me, because I certainly don’t try to “sell” the industry). I don’t think that I’ve ever written a post on it, probably because I don’t feel that I’m qualified to talk about it.  I’m much more successful now than I was when I started this blog, but compared to the really successful full-time dommes, I’m not much more than a weekend warrior.   Fact is, I just don’t have much hustle or the hard-nosed business sense necessary to be Mistress Jetset Superdomme.  I despise the capitalist system, but in all honesty, I would be better off if I had a little more greed, or “investment in my own self-interest,” or whatever you prefer to call it.  

         That said, I can offer the aspiring professional fetish practitioner a little practical advice. 

      The most simple way to get into professional BDSM, as my former colleague Calico wrote on her blog, is to call every commercial dungeon in town and ask if they are hiring.  If you were born female, someone will take you on (hardy har har). 

       I do not recommend starting out as an independent unless you have significant prior experience in some part of the adult industry, even if you have a lot of lifestyle experience with BDSM and think that you have a decent skill set and some gear.  Without a doubt, independent is where the real money is, but I am telling you: it is a baptism by fire starting out.  

         Start in a dungeon.  Or, if you have money already, contact some established pros and respectfully inquire about HIRING THEM to give you private instruction.  

         Do not work in a dungeon where staff uses drugs out in the open.  Do not work in a dungeon where it seems like the staff is drunk or high most of the time.  I’ve worked in three different dungeons, and without a doubt, cleaner is always better.   Do not work in a dungeon where management tolerates staff who are visibly inebriated, and I’m not talking at 11 PM on their birthday after a client brought in a case of champagne for the house.   And you sure as hell do not want to work in a dungeon where staff is buying or selling illegal drugs.  You don’t want to attract the scrutiny of law enforcement. 

        Do not work in a dungeon where you are asked or expected to give men handjobs, footjobs, ANY “job.”  You do not have to do this and it is not an industry standard.  If a client tells you that “every else” does it, he’s full of shit.  The prodomme biz has a pretty strict, and generally well-adhered-to code of honor about not combining domination and conventional sex.  There are escorts and massage girls who offer fetish services; they advertise themselves accordingly and their fees reflect this (keep that in mind if anyone pressures you for sex in a dungeon: there is no self-respecting hooker in New York who is not in the throes of severe drug withdrawal who would give a guy oral sex, much less fuck him, for the amount of money you are going to get after the House takes their cut.  This is one reason why most dommes–even beautiful, highly skilled independents–generally make LESS per session than they could command in other industries.  If you decide to sell sex, you owe it to yourself to get paid for it as much as the market will bear).  

          If you switch or act in a submissive role for a client, then you should be paid more than you would for a session where you are dominant.  That is the industry standard.  Paid significantly more, not a $20 tip (Like most switches, I got burned on this a few times before I wised up)

        For your own sake: don’t do anything that frightens you or that you don’t want to do.

        For your client’s sake: don’t do anything that you have no idea how to do. It’s okay to fake confidence.  Not so good to fake your skill set.  At the very least, tell him that you’ve never done it before, but you want to try…that way, he can make an informed decision. 

      Do not wear any jewelry to the dungeon that you would hate to lose. 

       Keep all of your property in your locker and keep the locker locked at all times.  Do not take your eyes off of your property.  Every woman who keeps her locker open gets ripped off eventually.  I myself only carry $20-$30 cash on me when I go to the Studio.  If you drop money, you will never see it again. 

      Clean and disinfect everything that touches skin after every single session.  Don’t be lazy.  

        On the topic of aesthetics: yeah, the aesthetics of sadomasochism is all goth n gloom n doom.  I am really sick of black and red color motifs too.  That said…I have never seen a mistress whose “look” was heavily goth or punk make it in this industry.  Even short hair can be the kiss of death.  Your bread-and-butter clients are conservative middle-aged white guys.  They have a very predictable idea of what feminine beauty and glamour looks like.  It sucks, but that’s the way that it is.

        Never trust a client.  Get your money up front, count it, and put it away where he can’t get to it. 

      Do not let clients try to bully or manipulate you with money or gifts.  Likewise, do not believe them when they dangle the promise of money or gifts in the future in exchange for your attention right now.  They are full of shit and they know what they are doing.  Generous men don’t promise to buy you anything, they just show up with a present for you.  My policy is not to ask clients for anything anyway, unless it’s Christmas and they ask–it gives them power over you. 

      Do not poach clients from your dungeon. 

      Do not steal from clients and do not touch their stuff without their expressed permission.  

      Beware of guys who dungeon-hop looking for new hires–exclusively new hires.  Many of them are predatory sadists with bad intentions, and they want to get you when you’re new because your boundaries are less likely to be firm and your bullshit radar won’t be well-tuned.  If your dungeon has your back, they’ll prep you about these guys before they send you in, so that you know what to expect and can get out with your money and your head intact.  If your dungeon sends you in there with Chester the Molester and you find out afterwards that everyone knows and hates the douchebag but couldn’t be bothered to warn you…find another dungeon.  

       Keep track of your income.  This is a cash business and without paystubs, you have to be your own book keeper. I keep written logs and Excel spreadsheets.

      Pay taxes.  I know a lot of dommes list their occupation as freelance entertainer, tutor, or consultant, or ‘in theater’ if you’re too shy to put ‘dominatrix.’  

          That’s all I can think of right now.

2 thoughts on “Dear Miss Margo: How Can I Get Started in the Biz?”

  1. Dear Miss Margo,

    A domme I knew told me this story. She was doing a scene with a veteran. (She had a soft spot for disturbed vets.) At the end of a two hour scene, he wanted something special. He wanted her to nail him to the St Andrew’s cross on the dungeon wall. Really nail him. He had brought nails and a hammer with him. This was at a small dungeon and it was late, so she was the only one there. He swore that he had done it before, and showed her exactly where the nails could be driven through his hands without doing permanent injury. He promised her a 2 hour extension and a $200 tip, so that would be $400 extra for her.

    Bear in mind that this woman was maybe 20 years old and a product of the New York City public school system. She also smelled of pot most every time I sessioned with her. She told me that she left the dungeon and stood in the hall feeling her own hand, trying to figure out if the guy was right about that spot in the middle of a human hand where a nail could pass through safely.

    In any event, she decided to do it. She drove a nail through each of his hands affixing him to the wood of the cross.

    Everything went well- no ambulance, no maiming. She was happy that she helped this guy enact his fantasy. Two weeks later, he came back, wanting to do it again. She declined, telling him that they should save it as a special thing, done rarely.

    I heard this story over twenty years ago, and I still have trouble processing it. The insanity is breathtaking. What other job puts a stoned 20 year old in that position, having to decide whether to risk maiming another person for $400?
    When she told me the story, I could see her getting an adrenaline rush just at the memory. This was incredibly intense for her, like a near car crash. Made me wonder about how she dealt with the trauma – in this case the memory of the uncertainty of how it would turn out.

    So yeah, anyone wanting to get in the biz had better be prepared – not so much for what you know is coming, but from what you don’t know is coming.


  2. OUTSTANDING comment, John, and I thank you for leaving it. I’m sorry that I only just now found it in my email box (I don’t check my blog email every day).

    What a story. And I believe it 100%.

    When men are turned on, they will risk anything. Even their own physical integrity.

    I don’t do much “medical” fetish–it’s just not my thing, and I don’t do something if I don’t think that I can do it well–but I see otherwise sane and accomplished men trusting themselves to be poked, prodded, catheterized, skin broken, and everything else by a random young woman he met for the first time 20 minutes ago AT A DUNGEON. There are bright educated responsible dommes at my Studio but it’s not fucking Yale School of Medicine, if you know what I mean.

    Men will do anything when they’re turned on. ANYTHING. It would be funny if it wasn’t also so dangerous.

    Also, re: crucifiction: civilians do it in the Philippines all the time. Damned if I know.

    Thanks for reading, John, as always. You were my first and favorite commentor (sp?)

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