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:
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”:
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!