Prodomme History: Weimar Republic Edition

      I love to study the history of sex work, especially professional sadomasochism.  Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to find solid research or journalism that isn’t either sugar-coated romance or moralizing hand-wringing.  Not every ho had a career like Madame de Pompadour or Veronica Franco, but they weren’t all tragic soiled doves desperate for “redemption”, either.   I hate that “fallen woman” bullshit. 

     So, imagine my delight when I found this: a fascinating article about prostitution in Weimar Berlin!  The author, Mel Gordon, is a scholar at UC Berkeley.  

     Best of all, the article contains descriptions of prodommes!  

Arriving in Berlin during the inflation crisis of 1922–1923, Klaus Mann remembered walking past a group of the outdoor dominatrices: “Some of them looked like fierce Amazons, strutting in high boots made of green, glossy leather. One of them brandished a supple cane and leered at me as I passed by. ‘Good evening, Madam,’ I said. She whispered into my ear, ‘Want to be my slave? Costs only six billion and a cigarette. A bargain. Come along, honey!’” Eight years after Mann’s encounter, Curt Moreck reported on the same corner: “One favorite tourist site is located near the corner of Passauer and Ansbacher streets, west of Wittenberg Platz. There, a trio of six-foot-tall Boot Girls are garishly costumed in red and black attire like nineteenth-century horsewomen. Snapping a riding crop, the tallest Amazon bellows menacingly, ‘Who will be my slave tonight?’”

     (lol lol “only six billion!”  God, inflation was so bad.)

     I cannot imagine doing street-based work.  I’d never have the guts.  I don’t know how women did it (or do it), though I suppose necessity would give you courage in a hurry.  That was a really hard time in history, and women were especially vulnerable. 

I wonder what she’s holding in her hand?

      The article lists how the dominas advertised their specialties:

BOOT GIRLS

Dominatrices near the Wittenberg Platz whose sexual services were signaled by the colors of their boots, laces, and ribbons, sometimes worn in combination.
—Black boots: buttocks cropping (lying on bed).
—Brown boots: asphyxiation by boot or stockinged foot.
—Cobalt blue boots: forced feminization; penetration by female.
—Lacquered gold boots: bound feminization; physical torture.
—Poisonous green boots: psychological enslavement.
—Brick red boots: buttocks flagellation (tied to bed or cross).
—Scarlet boots: forced feminization; transvestite humiliation.
—Black laces: punishment with a short whip.
—Gold laces: defecation on chest.
—Maroon laces: verbal humiliation.
—White laces: collared like a dog.
—White ribbons on top of boots: a roleplay scenario in which the male customer begins as the dominant figure and ends as the submissive party.

     I should get a pair of boots made for myself…brick red or black boots with black laces and a white ribbon across the top.  That would be fun and would give me an opportunity to squander money at Zappos.  A local cobbler could sew on a white leather strip for the ribbons.  Fun idea!

      Or I could have been a “Race Horse”:

RACE HORSES
Masochistic prostitutes who worked in “Institutes for Foreign Language Instruction” where the schoolrooms were equipped with bondage equipment.

      Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see photos of those bondage salons!  I bet a lot of the equipment was similar to ours–I mean, how many ways can you reinvent the wheel?  A bondage horse is a bondage horse–but I’d still like to see it.  

      Go read the entire article.  It’s fascinating, and now I’m going to buy this fellow’s books!  


3 thoughts on “Prodomme History: Weimar Republic Edition”

  1. I know! I’m dying to know what the sessions were like!

    Probably a lot like ours…but still! I wonder where the Boot Girls got their equipment. It’s not like they could just order their gear from JT’s Stockroom and have it overnighted via FedEx.

    But…there must have been all manner of whips for horses, as horses were still utilized for transportation and farm work, and somebody somewhere made whips and tawse and whatnot to beat the snot out of poor little kids in school…and prisoners in some counties…so the stuff had to have been around. And they had to manufacture restraints for people in jails and sanitariums. And for the police.

    Food for thought…

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