On Keeping it Quiet (Or, Loose Lips Sink Ships. And Reputations.)

      I went out last night with a few dungeon girls after we finished the shift.  I’d had a good day and bought drinks for the others who hadn’t made money.  

       Susan is a very young lifestyle sub who is still learning the business.  She is about 22 years old, I think, but even less mature than that in her head.  I’m not saying that to insult her, because I actually like her quite a bit.  She’s a sweetheart.  But she’s reckless, and this is not a job in which one can be reckless with impunity.  If you’re reckless, you get hurt.  

        She was flirting with the waiter and eventually told him that she works in the Studio.  She tells everyone where she works.  I have tried to explain to her that it’s not a good idea, but she doesn’t understand.

         “Why should I lie about it?  I’m not ashamed.  I’m not doing anything wrong.  Besides, people are fascinated by it.  They always have questions!”

        “Susan, it’s not a matter of being ashamed.  It’s about protecting yourself.  You have no idea where you’ll be in ten years. Do you want this to follow you around indefinitely?  And just because people are fascinated does not mean that they approve. A lot of them are fascinated for the same reason people used to be fascinated by circus freaks.  You are an exotic curiosity to them, but they do not necessarily respect you.  And a certain type of man will use the fact that you do any kind of sex work as an excuse to treat you poorly.”

        “What do you mean?”

         “It means they think you’re a whore and are therefore fair game.  By working in this industry, you have already given consent to be harassed, stalked, or molested.  That’s how they think.  You’re already a whore, so it’s perfectly reasonable to be expected to flash your tits or propositioned at the bar or whatever.   They do not respect you.  A lot of people hate sex workers, Susan, and go out of their way to humiliate them.  Complete strangers will take it upon themselves to call your grandmother and the Dean of your school and ask them if they know what you do for a living.  They love that bloodsport.  Spend a little time on TER and read how they really think about us sometime.  Don’t forget your barf bag.  

         Plus, we’re fetish, which to a lot of people is disturbing and offensive.  They think it’s sick.  They think it’s perverted and immoral, like molesting little kids.   Society stigmatizes strippers, but they don’t automatically think that strippers are necessarily mentally ill and completely unfit for parenthood.  A lot of people think this way about sadomasochists.  Do you have any idea what the sex lives of most Americans are really like?  You know that a lot of people think that vibrators are kinky, right?   They think we’re sick.  They may even be right.  Who knows?”

        “There’s nothing wrong with sex work.  It’s just the stigma of it that’s damaging,” she said.

       Well, yes and no.  I myself hate that “sex positive” Pollyanna bullshit.  I’ve had a lot of positive, worthwhile experiences in this industry that I wouldn’t trade for the world.  I mean, I’m still doing it, and I think that speaks for itself.  But I have seen–and done–far too much to  not think that this job is both alienating and potentially damaging.  Look at the women in the Studio.  Yeah, the Studio is the craziest dungeon in town, but even still.  About half of the women are well-functioning well-rounded people.  The other half are fucking fruitloops.  Nuttier than the proverbial fruitcake. I have never worked at a job were such a high percentage of my colleagues were obviously dysfunctional.  

       Part of it’s the drugs.  I think that the sex industry is one of the only industries in which you can function (in a fashion) drunk or high.  You can’t do it well, but you can get by.  I know that there are a million people drunk at work from all walks of life right now, as I type this…but for the most part, they’re doing it on the sly, and if they’re caught or the alcohol deteriorates their skills, they’re canned.  

       (Incidentally, one of the reasons I don’t work nights–besides the fact that I just plain hate to work at night, as I am a morning person–is that it’s not a sober environment.  After midnight, half the staff and most of the clientele are smashed.  It’s not safe for me to be around.  But shit, if you could see what I’ve seen at 3 AM in the Superstudio, you’d want a drink, too.) 

         When the Biz is good, it’s good.  It’s opened a lot of doors for me, but it’s closed a few, too–and if I’m ever exposed, it will close a lot more.  

         I told Susan about my friend Vicky.  Vicky’s an older lady who’s been in the Biz for about a year and a half.  She’s been a success–she has more clients than she can handle and she’s swimming in dough.  She’s actually the one who inspired me to take the plunge and do more independent work, which, while nerve-wracking, has been a blessing financially.  

       Anyway, Vicky is a nice, loving person.  There’s not a mean bone in her body (not what you’d expect in a dominatrix, huh?).  

       She told her ex-husband and her grown son what she does for a living.  

        Now they refuse to talk with her until she quits pro-dommeing  (confusing, I know.  Would they care if she just did it at home, with her boyfriends, and didn’t get paid for it?  Because that’s what she was doing before).  

        I’ve cut off relatives before.  I think that it can definitely be good policy–some toxic relatives deserve to be cut off, and I’ve never believed in the sanctity of family.  That said, it’s a pretty drastic move, and a pretty damning indictment of one’s behavior in the relationship when your own relatives refuse to talk to you
     
      I don’t know if any of this sank into Susan’s head.  I doubt it.  She doesn’t get it.  But if she doesn’t learn to keep it quiet, she will.  

     Finally, here’s a funny thing that happened to me this week: the Surgeon texted me out of nowhere to let me know that he was going to be on TV the next day.  Narcissism in action, ha ha.  He’s on TV a lot.  It makes him really happy.  Anyway, I didn’t reply to him, but I did tune in.  

       It was weird.  Really fuckin weird.  

      I know it’s bad, but I miss him sometimes.  

      Also, I renewed my contract at the school I teach at.  I will be a lowly adjunct slave instructor there for at least one more semester.  The job pays, like, $0.17/hour and provokes despair, but it looks good on my resume.

         Once the semester is finally done, though, I’ll have a little bit of a break.  I’ve entered into a good-natured competition with two of my domme friends: we’re going to see who can do the most sessions in the month of June.  Then we’re going to vacation together.  Just us, no doodz allowed!

        This summer, I want to make a ton of money and when my lease is up I’m going to move to a different apartment…someplace with windows in the living room, lol.  Apartment-hunting in NYC is hell on earth, especially if you get paid in cash and don’t have a ton of money in the bank…but if I can pony up four or five months’ rent up front, I don’t think any landlord will give me a problem.  I won’t have to call the Surgeon from a goddamned strip club to beg for a loan, either (God, what a nightmare last summer was!).  Not with dudes like Fortinbras in town.   

      So wish me luck–I should have a lot more Tales from the Biz in the upcoming weeks.  My goal is an independent session a day, six days a week, until I lose my mind or I walk into the wrong hotel room and the Craigslist Killer cuts my head off.  

      Then I can take the rest of the summer off from Secret Job.  New apartment and, hopefully, a boyfriend…?


6 thoughts on “On Keeping it Quiet (Or, Loose Lips Sink Ships. And Reputations.)”

  1. What’s TER?

    I think Mistress Matisse described about the same percentage, maybe higher, of house dommes as “dumb as a board or crazy as fuck”. Her advice was to keep your head down and not get sucked into their lives. Steer clear.

    Very interesting post!

  2. such an eventful life, I wish you much luck in the boyfriend search. I’m sure there is a sane yet open minded guy out there somewhere, you certainly have enough going on that there would be lots to talk about!

  3. Hi Downlow!

    Mistress Matisse has a lot of very apt observations about this industry and I’ve taken quite a bit of her advice to heart. Paltego recommended her to me in a comments section last year, when I started doing some more indy work.

    “Steer clear” is right! There are a handful of ladies at the Studio that I like and will talk to. Otherwise, I just put my foam earplugs in and curl up in a corner somewhere and try to be productive answering emails or editing manuscripts or maybe watch a little youTube…just stay out of Teh Krazy…

    TER is The Erotic Review, which is a website and forum set up for men who hire sex workers. It is basically a large “review” board. It is heavily Escort-centric (thank God), but fetish/prodommes get reviewed on it too.

    I understand that men would want to warn each other if a woman is unprofessional, a scam artist, tries to take the money and run, shows up high on drugs…that is reasonable. Otherwise, I have to say that I find the TER review system deeply offensive. I tell my clients that I do NOT want or allow any reviews, even if they are glowing and positive. The idea of some random man rating my figure and my face and my “enthusiasm” on a 1-10 scale makes me want to barf. If I wanted to be publicly judged and rated by a bunch of men, I’d compete in beauty pageants! Barf, Barf, Barf!

    Besides, the last thing I need is for my brother or my future boyfriend to look up my reviews from ten years ago and read what some random stranger I knew for 60 minutes of my life had to say about my boobs. NO THANK YOU!

    Also, I had one guy try to blackmail me into giving him a blowjob, despite the fact that I told him repeatedly via email and in person before the session that I do not provide traditional sexual services (and my rates reflect this). To wit: “I have over a hundred reviews on TER. Don’t you want a positive review? The reviews are very important to your business!” Yeah, I just love it when men give me unsolicited advice about how to run my business and what services they think I OUGHT to provide!

    I got out of there without being molested, but I was in such a hurry that I left a few good pieces of gear. What a jerk. I wouldn’t be surprised it he wrote something bad about me…maybe I ought to look.

    There are tons of fetish-friendly escorts out there, Why didn’t he hire one of them? The only reason I can come up with is that for some of these guys, getting a woman to do something that she doesn’t really want to do is part of the fun. The boundaries-pushers get a kick out of it. It’s like a game to them.

    Happily, most clients are NOT like that in my experience.

    Glad you liked the post, DownLow! Thanks for reading.

  4. Hi Rick!

    Thanks for your kind words. The boyfriend thing while working in The Biz has been, and continues to be, a though issue.

    I have always believed that no healthy man is going to put up with me working at this job. I would be very lucky, in fact, if he so much as accepted that I did it IN THE PAST. If I meet someone promising, I’m going to have to quit…and, I think it will be best if I don’t tell him that I did this professionally.

    It’s a lot of hide from someone, but I think that is the best thing to do. It sucks. But there is no perfect solution.

    One of the reasons I was so hopeful about the Mathematician is that I thought he knew that I had this job and was interested in me anyway. It was a huge relief and burden off of me.

    Of the women I know at the Studio…and admittedly, I don’t know the relationship status of about half of them…but of the ones I know, only TWO have loving relationships with good guys who are cool with what their women do for a living. One of those is a submissive husband who gets a thrill out of it. The other guy is just very mature and open-minded about it.

    Almost every domme I’ve talked to about this has lost a relationship over it. In my observation, most men can’t handle it…even if they think that they can at first.

    The WORST type of domme boyfriend–and I’ve seen plenty of women shack up with these LOSERS–is the boyfriend who knows what she does, DEPENDS ON HER FOR INCOME, and then is jealous and judges and berates her about it. Drives me crazy. One of my friends is actually in a relationship with a jackass like this right now, and I’m trying to support her without driving her away (or shooting him). I’ve fallen for some pretty bad guys, but at least none of them were hypocritical torturing parasites, Jesus.

    ok ok enough

    thanks for reading! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  5. Dear Miss Margo,

    FWIW, I think you are right about discretion. If you move within a subculture long enough, you forget how the rest of the world thinks about things.

    As a client, I never saw the dysfunction. Except for a few times, like the time I was tied up – legs splayed and in the air, my arms the same – and the domme started nodding off. Her cigarette dropped out of her mouth and fell down her front – several times. That was when I knew why she had excused herself and stepped out of the dungeon so many times. It was also a moment for me to reflect on what I was doing with my life. The thing is that she was great in session. She gave me a couple of the best whippings I ever experienced. But that night I was scared for my health and life.

    John

  6. Hi John! yikes, what a story. Am glad that you got out of that session okay. As I’m sure you are aware, accidents do happen in this business.

    “It was also a moment for me to reflect on what I was doing with my life.”

    Ah yes, the eternal question: “WTF am I doing with my life?” I ask myself from time to time, usually when the session gets really, really weird.

    The last time I asked myself that was in this client’s UES highrise apartment. He was a physician and the scene was nuts. I felt like I was in a David Lynch film, or maybe Kubrick if Kubrick made fetish pronos. The guy had to be some sort of sex addict, but whatevs, I’m not here to judge that. He had all of this very expensive exotic gear, most of which I couldn’t identify, and it was all laid out of this weird stainless steel table. Hey, at least everything was impeccable.

    Anyway, Dr. Ultraweird put on this leather gimp outfit, like the one in the movie Pulp Fiction. At first, I thought that it looked silly and comical and I was trying not to laugh….but after looking at it for over an hour (it was an extended session), he didn’t look so funny anymore. His mannerisms were very ODD and he’d put this bizarre German porn on a projector so that it took up an entire wall of the apartment, and he had an excellent home theater surround-sound stereo system, so all these creeptastic German porno noises were coming from all around me. And we were about sixty floors up, so I’ve got city lights spilled out underneath me and looking out the window gives me vertigo…

    Yeah, it was weird. I looked around the room, and then at this capering gimp physician (who later tried to rip me off, I might add. No idea why, as he obviously had the money. Oh wait, I know why: he was an asshole), and I did, indeed, ask myself “What are you doing with your life?”

    Very funny story in retrospect. Everyone I talk to at the dungeon has heard that story at least twice. I almost blogged about it…maybe I still will.

    Oh, and the cherry on top: he tried to pay me with his wife’s Le Perla lingerie. I could not make this shit up if I tried.

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