The Snow

I had a strange dream.

I drove into the mountains at night.  It was winter (it’s almost always wintertime in my dreams), and the snow was deep and heavy.  The sky had a million stars.  At this altitude, they’re very white and clear, as if God punctured the black silk tarp of the sky with a pick-axe.

It’s weird how the snow can cause a field to be illuminated, even in the blackest hour of night.

In my dream, I took off all of my clothes, folded them, and left them beside my car.  Then I walked out into the small meadow, which was surrounded by pine trees.

I lay down on my side in the snow, curled up like a shrimp.  At this point in my dream, it was as if I was watching myself from the outside–I could see myself lying in the snow.  I thought it was a beautiful  image, and I looked like a child again, but it was macabre.

At first, the cold hurt very badly…as it does. It burns.  It was snowing and the wind was blowing, and I felt it blowing snow, gradually, over my body.  Before it covered my face, I looked up at the stars.

When I got cold enough, the pain stopped.  I knew the symptoms of hypothermia (and I’ve had frostbite from doing biathlon with inadequate clothing protection).  The temperature spikes and then plummets as the circulation leaves the extremities and goes to the internal organs and the brain.

I stopped shivering, and things became peaceful.  The snow was like a blanket.

I wish that I knew what this dream means.  I’m confused about my life right now, but I’m not depressed, and I feel stable and certainly don’t want to die.  I don’t have bad anxiety.

My Jungian therapist believed that death dreams symbolize a spiritual or life transition.  Like you have to die to be reborn.  He was an unprofessional batshit-crazy philistine, but he wasn’t completely without talent, so maybe he was on to something.  I’m an atheist and a skeptic and I don’t believe in supernatural bullshit, but I acknowledge that there is something in the human experience and our biology/psychology which compromises the “soul.”  It’s where all art comes from, and the awe of beauty.

Laying in the snow, underneath my fluffy protective snowy blanket that was killing me, I was hoping that the stag with burning antlers would visit me again…but he didn’t.

Clients Who Stalk (I)

Let’s talk about clients who stalk.  Boundaries-violators.  The guys who won’t take no for an answer.

I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve only had about a half-dozen of these fuckers in my career (like most women, I’ve had men get alarmingly fixated or territorial at work, or after a few casual dates, but that’s another story).  Every sex worker I know has encountered clients like this.  I’m sure that many of these guys behave inappropriately with other women in their lives, but when it comes to sex workers, they completely abandon their inhibitions because they perceive us as being especially vulnerable (which is true) and also because these unhealthy abusive dingbats don’t have proper perspective and can’t keep a handle on their emotions.

At the root of all this, of course, is the fact that they don’t respect you or see you as fully human.  Disrespect is the soil abuse grows from.

I’m not talking about the client with a crush, who is besotted and always brings in flowers or candy and offers to do favors for you and is clearly just dying for a “real date.”  That is emotionally exhausting, and I usually let those guys go, too, because it’s awkward and I don’t like feeling pressured or that I am causing them pain, but it’s not oppressive.  It is understandable that a man could develop a crush on the woman who is always looking beautiful for him, always catering to his fantasy, always in a good mood and providing acceptance of some of his most personal vulnerabilities and secrets. I sympathize.  Guys with mad crushes stress me out, but I sympathize.  I really do.

I’m talking about the stalkers.  You politely decline to see them again after three or four sessions because they disturb you or upset you, and they blow up your email box demanding an explanation for your decision , or email you again after a few months to see if you’ve “changed your mind,” or they pretend as if it’s their first time ever contacting you and try to book an appointment.   The client whose email and social media communications you block, who then makes up a new email account or identity just to get around the blocking and confront you or make you think he’s someone else.  The client who finds your ads from years ago in Google cache or the Wayback Machine and emails them to you, with commentary.  The client you intentionally, deliberately stopped seeing at your last dungeon (and yes, you told him this), who tracks you down at your new dungeon two years later and makes an appointment with you under a new name.

The client you stupidly gave your real cell phone number to when you were green and trusting and stupid (he’s married with a family!  He wouldn’t stalk me!  He’s safe!) who then pays a company to find out your legal name…and actually tells you about it, as if he did something to be proud of.  You walk into the room, totally unsuspecting, and, to your complete shock, he starts calling you by your Christian name, as if you were old friends.

The client who asks other sex workers about you…if she knows your personal information, where you go to school, if you have a boyfriend, if you drive, if you have a lot of clients.

The client who stalks your ads on all of the online ad malls and tells you which ad copy and pictures he likes the best. Not a passing compliment (“Your Eros ad is really hot!”), but a detailed commentary of your online presence that shows he’s really put some time and effort into it.  As if anyone asked for his fucking opinion.

The client who finds you on OK Cupid or Match.com or your PRIVATE LIFE profiles on collarme/collarspace and fetlife and messages you about it.

The client who gives you bad vibes and you don’t want to provoke him or antagonize him in any way, so you don’t clearly and explicitly reject him to his face or via email (when I was pro-subbing, this happened to me a few times with male doms).  You brush off his booking requests a few times in courteous fashion and then ignore him utterly.  Instead of taking a hint, he books a session under a new name “so that we can talk” or just shows up at the dungeon out of nowhere demanding to session with you anyway.

When you used to session at your house (that lasted about three months, precisely because of douchebags like this), this is the guy who picks up your personal items without permission to examine them.  You catch him rifling through the basket of periodicals by the sofa to see what you’re reading and also, naturally, to find your legal name on a mailing sticker.

I have one of these clients on my hands right now, and if I hear from him one more time, I’m going to threaten the nuclear option: going to the police.  This just can’t go on.

Here’s the deal: about two months ago, I decided to try a new type of sex work–sensual massage.  I met a prodomme in San Francisco when a client hired both of us for a doubles session, and we’ve become a little friendly and have gone out to lunch a few times.  Anyway, she does massage and told me that there were lots of clients for it and that it was comparatively easy.

Now, I’ve never given handjobs in a session (I don’t look down on it or judge at all, it’s just not something I offer, and my rates as a fetish worker reflect that), but I’ve tied a lot of men down and held a hitachi on them…and that’s sort of the same thing, right…?  I mean, it’s not illegal, but it’s the same thing, right…? And when I was pro-subbing, a lot of the doms would want neck and back massage.  That’s sort of the same thing, right?  My boyfriends liked it when I rubbed and scratched their backs, so I sort of have experience, right?

“It’s easy!  Look sexy and beautiful, flirt, make conversation, encourage them to relax!” she said.

So I put up a massage ad with pics of me in a satin robe and fancy lingerie, under a new stage name.

I could only do it for two tours.  It wasn’t bad, per se, but it is just not the type of sex work for my personality.  I could see how it could appeal to other women…but it wasn’t for me.

Part of it was being a flirtatious and gracious hostess, which is fine, and it reminded me a lot of BDSM tease-and-denial sessions…except that (IMPORTANTLY) these clients were non-fetishist men, NOT submissive, and I didn’t feel in control of the situation.  It’s not like they were tied up, safe and sound, and I felt nice and safe to erotically tease them or whatever.  These men were not subs and I was not in a position of authority.

What I found myself in was a situation where I am dressed in pretty frilly lingerie, giving a backrub to a naked dude who is a stranger, trying to act flirty and sexy when I do it.

The problem is, I felt like this scenario had SEXUAL ASSAULT written all over it.  I was completely vulnerable.  It wasn’t even like a massage parlor, with other women around.  If a client raped me, what on earth would I tell the cops? “I was dressed in my bra and underpants straddling this guy giving him a neckrub and he paid me and I swear no sex was intended, I SAID SO IN MY AD!”

Which brings us back to the stalker.

TO BE CONTINUED

On Archery

I finally bought myself a bow.

I decided to try my hand at archery a few months ago.  I got the idea because I love target shooting with my guns, so I thought archery might appeal to me.  Like the other sports I enjoy–swimming, cross-country skiing–it is solitary in its execution, which suits my nature.

I went to the indoor archery range and hired a professional to tutor me for an hour.  I would have much preferred to hire a woman instructor, because I am sick and fucking tired of paying male professionals to sleaze on me and make me uncomfortable, but there were no women.  Fortunately, and to my pleasant surprise, my instructor was as good as gold, and I hire him to supervise my technique at the range every week.

The sportsmen at the archery range are different from the type I usually encounter at the gun range; the atmosphere is different, which I appreciate.  There are more families, youths, workers on lunch break at the archery range.  I love to shoot my guns, but the culture is toxic and I wear my hearing protection the entire time in part to avoid eavesdropping on the horrid conversations around me.

Yesterday, I took my new bow and a target drove half an hour into the foothills of the mountains, where the Basque shepherds used to graze their sheep.  There was still snow on the ground, but not too deep at that altitude.  The birch and aspen trees were white like the snow, and winter had exposed the birds’ nests.

In my experience, archery involves a high level of concentration which is also, paradoxically, very soothing.  It gets me out of my head.  It’s nice not to think about things sometimes.  The sound of the arrow hitting the target is very satisfying.  I’ve learned to use the muscles in my back, instead of my arm, to draw.  It’s a big like rowing.

Work was very busy this week.  I made a lot of money (well, for me), twice what I usually make on a weekly basis, and I’m still too exhausted to think about what to do with it.  I guess, after bills are paid, half will go into savings and half into checking, same as always.  I did treat myself with the bow–I overnighted it to my apartment.

I need to find a new therapist.  As I’m sure all of you know, my last experience with one was an unqualified disaster that I do not pretend to have recovered from.  The prospect of shopping for a new one–at considerable personal expense, no less–leaves me feeling completely exhausted.  I have learned my lesson, though: no more guys.

Unless they’re gay.  A gay therapist would be safe.

It’s interesting, you know: outside of my tutoring job, all that I do is deal with men and their sexuality.  Outside of my internet friends, there are no women in my life at this time.  It’s all men, all the time.

And I feel like the loneliest girl in the world.

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink, eh…? 

 

My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun (764)

BY EMILY DICKINSON

My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –
In Corners – till a Day
The Owner passed – identified –
And carried Me away –
And now We roam in Sovreign Woods –
And now We hunt the Doe –
And every time I speak for Him
The Mountains straight reply –
And do I smile, such cordial light
Opon the Valley glow –
It is as a Vesuvian face
Had let it’s pleasure through –
And when at Night – Our good Day done –
I guard My Master’s Head –
’Tis better than the Eider Duck’s
Deep Pillow – to have shared –
To foe of His – I’m deadly foe –
None stir the second time –
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye –
Or an emphatic Thumb –
Though I than He – may longer live
He longer must – than I –
For I have but the power to kill,
Without – the power to die –

The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition ed by Ralph W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

Bad Dream about Monkey

Last night I had a dream that I still had my previous birds, my linniolated parakeets.  I wrote about them here.

I let them out of their cage almost every day, and I also let them fledge, because birds are meant to fly.  Clipping the wings protects them, but it’s also like putting them in a wheelchair.  It is the nature of a bird to fly.  When I let my last big parrot, Parrot, fledge, she became much more confident and open to our relationship (and I never let the linnies out when she was outside of her cage, because I was afraid she might hurt them.  They were indigenous to different continents and did not speak the same birdy language).

It was safe, because my 5th-floor walkup apartment in the East Village had no windows in the living room.  There was no way for the birds to get out.

For the most part, the linnies stayed on their cage, just hanging around with each other.  Sometimes they would make slow, careful laps around my living room, or fly to me. I never tried to dictate their behavior. They were so beautiful, and I miss them so much. I knew them each, as individuals.

Well, in my dream (was it actually a nightmare…?  Not quite, but almost), I’d let the linnies out of their cage so that they could play.  There was a child boy in my apartment, and the left my bedroom door open, when had windows.

And the windows were open.

He came to me, shrieking “One of the birds flew away!”

I rushed immediately to the window and tried to close it, but it wouldn’t close.  I grabbed a towel and held it over the open space in the window, but the towel did not cover the open space.  The birds could still fly out if they went around the towel.

I was terrified.

Somehow, the door was closed, and we got the other three birds into the cage.

Which one was it, who flew through the window…?

It was Monkey (that is his name, Monkey, because he loved to climb around and hang upside down).  Monkey was absolutely gorgeous, a perfect specimen.  I ordered him from San Diego and picked him up from the airport.  He was the boldest and strongest of the linnies. If I introduced new food, or a new toy in their cage, he was always the first one to check it out or go exploring.  He was turquoise.  He was beautiful and I’d post a picture of him now (I took lots), but I can’t bear to look at them right now because of the dream.  He was also wild as a March hare, and wouldn’t allow me to touch him, but as long as I didn’t physically impose myself upon him, he wasn’t afraid of me at all.

Monkey flew away to a certain death.

My NYC analyst, the Freudian, said that my birds are my heart.   I’ve had so many dreams when they were released out of my protection. 

I have failed to protect myself in this life.  And nobody else can do it for me.

 

Monkey
I miss you and I’m sorry.