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Archive for September, 2010

What a strange thing man is; and what a stranger thing woman. – Lord Byron

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a question and answer column, but there was one query which I realized needed a column all to itself because the answer really isn’t as interesting as the question.  It was, “How can you tell a transsexual from a biological woman?”  Most of my female readers probably consider the answer to be obvious, but since many of my male readers may be equally convinced that it isn’t I think it’s best to examine the reasons for the question before moving on to the answer.

You would probably have to have lived at the bottom of the sea for your entire adult life to be unaware that some people born male are, to one degree or another, uncomfortable in their gender role; obviously some born-female are as well, but while many women who feel that way attempt to deny all gender by becoming neofeminists, men adopt a variety of behaviors ranging from cross-dressing to sex-change surgery.  Women who cross-dress for sexual reasons are pretty rare and female-to-male transsexuals are unimportant to this  discussion, so when I use the term “transgender” in this column it will heretofore mean only a male-to-female transsexual.  The term “transgender” started out as an umbrella term for many kinds of gender nonconformity, but has settled in to basically mean what used to be described by the term “transsexual”.

Most cross-dressers are perfectly happy being male; they are not attracted to other men and their attachment to women’s lingerie probably arises from the same murky swamp of male sexuality as so many other “perversions” do.  Indeed, most escorts have probably encountered clients who ask if they can wear women’s lingerie during sex or even answer the door in such garb without asking first.  I never had a man surprise me that way, which is a good thing because my feelings on it would be the same as mixing BDSM with full service; I just can’t let a man inside me if I can’t take him seriously.  Dominatrices cater to clients who wish to be “forced” to cross-dress as a BDSM “punishment”, and some of these men even derive a sexual thrill from going out in public and attempting to pass as women.

But that’s not the same thing as a transwoman, who actually feels uncomfortable as a male and really wants to be a woman.  There are three types of transsexuals, Type 1, Type 2 and Extreme; as Dr. Helena put it, Type 1 transsexuals feel as though they are women in men’s bodies, Type 2 transsexuals only think they feel as though they are women in men’s bodies, and extreme transsexuals actually are women in men’s bodies.  Type 1 transsexualism appears to derive from some childhood environment which stunted the development of a male self-image and caused the transsexual to pattern his psyche on strong female role models, while Type 2 appears to derive from trauma which causes the transsexual to reject his male identity.  And extreme transsexualism (AKA gender dysmorphia) appears to derive from neurological causes which actually program a biological, XY chromosome male to think and feel like a woman, though he still has a physically and hormonally normal male body.  At one time strict standards were in place to allow all extreme transsexuals and those Type 1 cases who could learn to live and behave like women to be recommended for gender reassignment while prohibiting Type 2 cases from doing so, but in recent years “queer activists” and easy international travel have combined to wreck or circumvent many of the safeguards which were designed to keep disturbed individuals from implementing irreversible changes to their bodies and later regretting it.  Gender reassignment does not consist merely of sex-change surgery; it requires years of hormone therapy and electrolysis to remove his beard and other female-inappropriate body hair, and the candidate who wishes to do it by the numbers rather than simply flying to Thailand has to undergo years of psychological therapy as well.  The costs of all this are astronomical, many tens of thousands of dollars, so a certain percentage of transsexuals turn to prostitution (generally at the street level) to earn it.

So in any large city, there is a small population of prostitutes, mostly streetwalkers, who dress as women but are not biologically female.  Some of these are transsexuals earning their fees, while others are simply ordinary homosexual prostitutes who dress in drag; since all of these individuals lack female equipment they generally work at the low end where they can make a living only providing oral sex (unlike escorts, whose clientele presumes that full service is on the menu if desired).  Traditionally these drag prostitutes did not openly advertise their masculinity (though it was generally obvious to those with eyes to see), but in modern times the internet has provided them with a venue to seek out those men who actually want to have sex with pre-operative transsexuals (also called “she-males” or “chicks with dicks” by their aficionados).  But while some men actively seek transsexuals and some don’t care if only oral sex is involved, a much larger percentage are repelled by the thought of sexual contact with a male, however disguised, and in a few this goes beyond mere aversion to active concern.  For whatever reason, these men are haunted by the thought that a prostitute they hire might be a post-operative transsexual.

Let’s face it; men really don’t look much like women.  Even with padding in the right places they’re taller and larger, their faces, shoulders and waists are wider, they have thicker skin and deeper voices and hair everywhere, and their mannerisms aren’t much like those of women even when they try.  In Hollywood comedies, men often dress as women and succeed in fooling everyone, but in the real world someone encountering the title character from Tootsie would be more likely to say, “Why is Dustin Hoffman in drag?” than “Wow, what a babe.”  Normal men do not have access to Hollywood makeup artists and are seen from every angle rather than photographed in carefully-planned shots, and real people can’t help noticing the heavy theatrical makeup men need to cover their beard stubble.  Even drag queens who perform in clubs benefit from dim lighting conditions and the distance of the audience from the stage.  As I said above, transsexuals are physically and hormonally male; even years of hormone therapy and full-body electrolysis cannot erase greater height and larger bone structure, and once the larynx expands during puberty not even voice lessons can disguise the male vocal timbre.

Yet the myth persists; some men are absolutely convinced that a large percentage of escorts are actually post-operative transsexuals, and that it’s difficult to tell even when naked in the same bed with them!  I suspect this idea is really just an exaggeration of the fact that some streetwalkers are either pre-operative transsexuals or drag queens, and the fact that a blow job from a fully-dressed streetwalker in a dimly-lit car is a far cry from a full-service call with a naked escort in a well-lit hotel room gets lost in the paranoia.  Tourists to New Orleans, with its large homosexual population, seem especially worried about this; every week at least two or three guys, always tourists, asked if the girl I was about to send was a “real” girl, and every so often the number of such inquiries would explode for a few days (presumably after some “cautionary” TV show aired or magazine article was published).  In truth, I knew of exactly four transsexual prostitutes in New Orleans; three were streetwalkers who worked out of the seedy Tulane Motel and one was an escort whom I never met, but was described to me by Doug as looking “like a stevedore in drag.”  Despite the popular myth of their prevalence in the Big Easy, no service with which I was connected could even supply a transsexual hooker if a client wanted one!

But let’s assume for the sake of argument that a post-operative transsexual whore was short (by male standards), slender, possessed of very fine features and a high-pitched voice, and had received sufficient hormone therapy to give her a feminine shape and soft skin, and enough electrolysis to absolutely remove all facial hair and unfeminine body hair; are there any unalterable characteristics which would still allow one to tell that she was not biologically female?  Obviously fleshy tissues can be surgically altered, but bone structure cannot, and there are a few such ways in which the average woman differs from the average man.  The most obvious is in the proportional size of the hands and feet; even a short man tends to have larger hands and feet than a woman of the same physical size.  The necks of women are proportionately longer and more slender than those of men, and this cannot be altered even if the Adam’s apple is shaved down.  Also, women are leggier than men; though my husband is 8” taller than I am my waist is only barely below his, and I’m sure many of my readers have made comparable observations with their spouses.  Finally, the index fingers of women are generally the same length as our ring fingers or slightly longer, while those of men are usually shorter than the ring finger.  Of course none of these are foolproof tests; Uma Thurman has huge hands and feet, as did Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and I’m sure there are some men whose hands and feet are as small as a woman’s.  I’ve met men with long, slender necks and women with bull necks, and I had a friend whose legs were so short that even though we were the same height standing, she was noticeably taller when sitting.  And some studies suggest lesbians have longer ring fingers than other women, so that their hands are of similar proportions to those of men.

The short answer to my correspondent’s question, then, is that though there is no foolproof test, there are a few which would usually serve to allow a post-operative transsexual to be told apart from a woman of similar size and build.  But I have a rhetorical question for you:  Far be it from a bisexual woman to presume to understand a heterosexual man’s thinking, but why does it really matter?  If your escort looks, sounds, acts and performs so much like a woman that you need some sort of Blade Runner replicant test to tell the difference, then what is the difference?  If you were looking for a wife and planning to have kids I could see how it would be important, but for an hour’s diversion why is that particular aspect of an escort’s medical history more important than any other?  You’re not going to turn gay from unknowingly copulating with her, so I don’t think I’m out of line in saying that when it comes to whores, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

UPDATE:  Since I first wrote this column, my thinking on the subject has evolved considerably; I now realize that despite the positive ending, I inadvertently perpetuated some harmful stereotypes and slurs in the text.  See “Due Consideration” for further discussion, and please accept my sincere apologies for the unintentional negativity.

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No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. –  Margaret Sanger

April was another of the broken dolls who touched my heart; unfortunately, things did not turn out as well for her as (I hope) they did for Marilyn.  But as sad as it is, I think her tale is an important object lesson in the real consequences of our society’s obsession with “punishing” consensual behaviors.  If somebody in a position of authority had cared more about helping this poor creature than about making an example of her, things might have turned out differently.

April was a tall, slender blonde with a very pretty smile whom I first met a few weeks after I began working for Pam.  To be exact, I first met her in Pam’s bed; she and I had been hired as a birthday present for Pam’s boyfriend, who apparently fancied us both.  This little party was notable in several ways; it was my first couple call, my first two-girl call, my first multi-hour call, my first sign that Pam was not somebody I wanted to work with for very long, my first experience with a crackhead (the boyfriend), and the first time I met a crack whore (April). I’m sorry if that sounds cold-hearted, but I can’t think of a better term for her; she was a whore, and she was addicted to crack. Judging by the fact that she was not emaciated and didn’t look years older than she was (which was roughly my age) I don’t think she had been on it very long, but there was no doubt that it had a serious hold on her; she shook constantly and took no money for the call (the boyfriend paid her in crack).  I don’t mind telling you that I didn’t feel sorry for her that first night; it looked to me as though she had made her own bed and was lying in it.  However, I didn’t know her then; when I heard her story later I felt quite differently about it.

I didn’t see April for about a month after that; I heard she had been arrested for possession and spent the time in Orleans Parish Prison.  Her rapid release was due to the fact that at the time OPP was so badly overcrowded that the drug court had been directed to put nonviolent drug offenders (especially female ones) into a diversion program so as to get them out of state custody.  In and of itself this would have been commendable, but as we shall see the way the program was implemented (at least in April’s case) didn’t exactly give her much chance of success.  Be that as it may, the stay in jail seemed to have actually done her good; she had been forced to withdraw from the crack “cold turkey” and the regular meals had restored her normal body weight.  Her eyes were clear, her complexion rosy and her shakes gone; I literally did not recognize her at first.  She dropped by Pam’s (where I was earning a little extra by answering the phone) to let her know that she was available and greeted me with a cheerful “Hi, Maggie!” and then in response to my hesitation, “You don’t remember me, do you?”

April?” I asked with undisguised incredulity.  “No, honestly, I didn’t!  Damn, girl, you look good!”

“Yeah, I dried out in jail.  I feel great!”

As fate would have it, the phone rang while we were talking and the caller requested a slender blonde; I said, “I’ve got one right here!” and handed her the phone.  She conducted herself well and the date was soon made; after its completion she came back to drop off her fee and thank me for the quick service.  I told her, “Honey, as long as you stay off of that poison I’ll have plenty of them for you!”

“Oh, no!” she said earnestly, “I will never smoke that crap again, I promise!”

She was as good as her word; she worked hard, made the customers happy, turned in her fees quickly and was so appreciative of my help that she came with me when I started my own agency.  We talked often and she told me that, as so often happens with whores, her drug problem had been the result of involvement with a worthless man who convinced her that sex would be “better” on crack.  Despite her age and experience April was, I’m sorry to say, not very bright, and possessed of an innocent and childlike demeanor which made her very easy to take advantage of.

Not that the drug addiction was her only problem, mind you; she had been convicted of prostitution and “crime against nature” many years before, and so by the rules of New Orleans’ nasty little “sex offender” game (see my column of August 17th) her daughter had been taken by the state years before and she was stuck living in the only place she could both find and afford within the limits of the law.  This was the Capri Motel, a seedy dive which rented rooms by the week and was mostly home to drug dealers and the most desperate of streetwalkers.  It was a dirty, scary place that I avoided unless I absolutely had to go there to give April a ride; the halls were narrow and dark, and I never got out of my car there without my stun gun strapped to my wrist and turned on.  As nasty as it was, housing was inexpensive in New Orleans then and she could easily have found a place that was both nicer and cheaper (even cheap hotel rooms are more expensive than apartment leases) if not for the unjust law which branded this doe-eyed babe-in-the-woods a “danger” and forced her to live among the dregs of society.

When business was good April did all right in spite of her high rent and the necessity of eating out every day (skid row hotel rooms lack kitchens); she asked me to hold $50 of every call for her, and when she had enough she bought a cheap used car so she could at least avoid having to pay for cabs all the time.  But the good times didn’t last; as part of her diversion the judge insisted she get a “legitimate” job. Apparently my business license, registration as a Louisiana corporation, federal tax ID number and credit references still didn’t make me “legitimate” enough in his eyes, so she was forced to waste all day as a stripper at Big Daddy’s, an infamous Bourbon Street strip club a friend of mine once described as “where old strippers go to die.”  After dancing all day for peanuts when she could’ve made $200 with a single call she was then forced to attend classes several evenings a week for a drug problem she no longer had (thus cutting into her evening work hours) and pay exorbitant registration and supervision fees (thus eating up the little money she was still making).  And just when she thought it couldn’t get worse, the economy slumped and business trailed off for everyone.

Though dreadfully depressed about her situation, April remained true to the letter of her word and never returned to crack; she did, however, begin to indulge herself in the perfectly legal (and therefore obviously less dangerous, because our wise leaders only want what’s best for us) drug called alcohol.  By conventional standards she wasn’t an alcoholic; she was sober for her “legitimate” job and never drove drunk, but she drank so much when she was alone in her horrid little room that her speech was often noticeably slurred when I called her.  Obviously my professional ethics would not allow me to send a girl in that condition to a client, so her work dropped off still more and the cycle got worse.

A few months after this started I called to check on her one day and got no answer; after a week I was worried enough to brave the Capri Motel and the desk clerk (who knew I was her employer) told me they hadn’t seen her in a week and had packed up her few things into the storage room.  Her car was still in the parking lot and I feared the worst, but the police reports in the paper said nothing about a dead blonde being discovered someplace so I was forced to presume that she had in desperation turned to streetwalking and subsequently been arrested.  But that theory proved no good either; streetwalkers aren’t usually held long and after two months I had given up all hope of ever hearing from her again.  Finally, the grapevine came through where official channels dammed with “privacy restrictions” had failed me; I found out that April had collapsed after work and been taken to Charity Hospital, where she had slipped into a coma and never awakened.

Ironically, the collapse had nothing to do with her drug abuse; it was due to a rare medical condition which had apparently gone undiagnosed for years.  Though it’s likely that it had been accelerated by hard living, it would have killed her sooner or later even had she been a housewife.  But if she had not been ostracized, persecuted and prevented from making a good living by a society more interested in “punishing” a lost soul than helping her, she might have died surrounded by family and friends rather than alone in a charity ward.

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Every writer, especially when first starting out, writes a few things that, on looking back, cause her to say something like “What the Hell was I thinking when I wrote that?”  In fact, there are a LOT of things I wrote my first year that make me feel that way.  However, I’m a big believer in transparency; before the Internet, one couldn’t just “un-publish” embarrassing articles, and I don’t think it’s ethical or even wise to try that now just because one can.  You can’t un-ring a bell, and you can’t unsay hurtful things, and to attempt to do so by shoving mistakes – even ugly ones – down the memory hole is to attempt to rewrite the past, a favorite pastime of censors and tyrants through the ages.  I’m a real, flawed human being, and though I believe racism and bigotry are deeply wrong, sometimes things don’t really come out like I wanted them to.  The post which appeared on this date was hands-down my most controversial; a lot of people called me a racist and worse because of it, but because I also received a lot of mail from black men thanking me for explaining it (even if they sometimes rightfully chastised me for the crappy, sloppy, careless, insensitive, amateurish, assholish, and unnecessarily hurtful way I expressed it), I’ve always felt it was best to leave it up.  However, the essay has recently become a major bone of contention in the sex worker rights movement, and some people whose opinions and feelings I care deeply about have told me that they are offended or upset by it.  As many of you know or have surmised, I consider loyalty to those I love to be among the highest of virtues, so when a loved one says that something I did – even inadvertently, and even six years ago – hurt her in some way, you can bank on the fact that I’m going to try to correct that in any way I can.  And so, though I know the decision will annoy or upset some people as much as the original essay did, I have decided it’s time to take it down.  I am not doing this in order to pretend it never existed; as I wrote above, I own my mistakes as much as I own my accomplishments.  And even if I wanted it to vanish completely, the internet has made that impossible.  The reason I am doing this is, quite simply, because some people I respect and some people I love and respect asked me to, and that is reason enough for me.   I apologize to any readers who may have been offended by my language, or who may be offended in the future by copies of the essay which exist elsewhere; please believe that any hurt I caused was wholly unintentional.

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One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  –  Traditional saying

I’m going to warn you right up front that this column may be revolting for most of you; please do not attempt to read it while eating or drinking anything.  Some of you may not want to read it at all.  I’m going to try to put everything as delicately as possible, but I can only do so much; consider yourself warned!

As I’ve pointed out in the last two columns, BDSM is a wide umbrella that covers many behaviors, but one common theme in many of those behaviors is degradation.  Many men crave intercourse with a menstruating woman, and though there are several possible reasons for this fetish one might very well be the desire to feel soiled.  Some men are very aroused by evidence that other men have had a woman before they have, and will pay to be allowed to perform oral sex on a woman directly after such activity.  I have even been offered money to allow a client to do this after my husband had unprotected sex with me, and though I refused it I’m sure many whores do not.  I even once heard of a man offering to pay for used condoms, but the girl very ethically refused the request on the grounds that clients’ DNA was not really hers to give away.  It’s certainly possible that these fetishes develop from suppressed homosexual impulses, but whatever their origin the form they take is certainly one of seeking degradation.

A sizeable minority of people, most of them male, are highly aroused by what may be the most severe form of degradation possible, namely the reception or even consumption of other people’s bodily waste.  The most common of these is the “golden shower”, which involves the dominant urinating on the submissive; I think most whores have probably been paid to do this at some point in their careers, and IMHO it is by far the easiest of these requests to fulfill.  The hardest part is getting over the lesson we all learn in early childhood, that there is only one appropriate place to urinate (and it is NOT on other people); even if one drinks a great deal and abstains from visiting the ladies’ room for a couple of hours it still takes considerable effort to force oneself to “let go” in such a situation.  I found it best just to look up at the ceiling and try not to think about what is going on beneath one, and to ignore any unpleasantly suggestive sounds.  Fortunately, most of these men understand that they aren’t going to get a hug or {shudder} kiss afterward, but a few just can’t figure that out or even expect intercourse!  But “golden showers” are easy compared to a certain other request, politely referred to as “scat”, on which working girls are sharply divided; some just can’t bring themselves to do it (one dominatrix told me she had to get drunk in order to grant the first such request of her career), whereas others shrug and say “I was just going to get rid of it anyhow so I might as well sell it.”

As I’ve said several times before, I never mix domination with full service, and unless a client warns me beforehand that he is looking for domination I always unequivocally refuse such requests.  There was only one exception in my entire career, and it was one of only a small handful of calls (along with the time I was arrested, the time I was raped by the Frenchman and the appointment with the Honduran wrestler) that I can truly say I wish I had not accepted.  Since this story illustrates exactly why I never mixed services and also introduces the final subject I wish to cover, I’ll repeat it in its entirety.

One night in my first year of escorting (2000) I received a call in Gretna, just across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans.   I could tell by the client’s voice that he was black (I’ll discuss the implications of this tomorrow), but since he sounded very normal and polite on the phone I didn’t expect any problems.  Then, just as I arrived in the parking lot of the hotel, Doug called me with a couple call, which I set up for afterward; the people sounded especially nice and I was really looking forward to it, so I was feeling good when I knocked on the door.  The mood didn’t last long; the client was both huge and obese and conformed to the most common escort stereotype about black men by handing me $240.

“I told you it was $300,” I said sharply.

“Oh, I know baby, but this hotel room was $60,” he lamely explained.

“So? The hotel is your responsibility, not mine. I need the rest.”

“Oh, come on. I ain’t got any more, that’s all I got.”

I immediately saw a way to have my cake and eat it, too.  “I’ll give you a half-hour for this.”

He seemed relieved.  “Oh, yeah, that’s fine, I won’t take long.”  So I went to put my purse on the bedside table; in doing so I moved his hat which was lying there hiding a loaded .45.  Seeing my reaction, he immediately said, “Oh, baby, don’t worry ‘bout that.  That’s just for my protection.”

“From who, me?” I asked, somewhat angrily.

“No, baby, no, don’t worry ‘bout that,” he said.  Though I didn’t let him see it, I was of course worried; I’m quite comfortable around guns but I wondered why he might feel it necessary to keep one within arm’s reach in a locked room.  Not that he couldn’t have killed me with his bare hands, each of which were large enough to go around my little neck quite easily.  So, I got undressed and started working on him, keeping a close eye on his movements.  Soon he was on top of me, and as I concentrated on bearing up under his weight he said, “I want you to do something for me after we’re finished.  If you promise to do it I’ll get turned on and come faster.”

Well, that sounded just dandy, so I said, “What do you want me to do?”

“Promise you’ll pee on me when we finish,” he said.  Great.  Wonderful.  There I was, trapped under this cheapskate who could probably kill me just by letting himself drop, and he asks for something I absolutely refuse to do.  I was stuck; he was already inside me, I didn’t dare get him angry, and I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.  So I did the only sensible thing I could do under the circumstances and gave my promise, figuring he would be turned on and finish that much more quickly, and then might not want the golden shower afterward.  Men are funny that way; sometimes they do a complete reversal the second they climax and what turned them on a minute before, now disgusts them.

It was a good plan, but he ruined it by unexpectedly pulling out, flipping over on his back, and saying, “OK, do it now.”

“NOW?” I asked, incredulously. “I thought you wanted it after!”

“No, I want it now.  Pee on me.”

“HERE?  In the bed?”

“Yeah, so what?  You don’t have to clean it.” 

I think I actually shuddered in disgust.  “I’m sorry, I just can’t pee in a bed.  I have a mental block, it won’t come out here.”

“Where, then?”

“In the bathtub, I can do it to you there!”  But he was far too large to fit in the bathtub.  I let him lie on the bathroom floor and squatted over him, but before I did I told him he couldn’t have me again afterward.

“Why?” he asked.

“WHY?!!?  Because it’s disgusting and unsanitary, that’s why!  I don’t want piss all over me!”  I was now the mistress, and I required obedience.  He shut up.  I pushed and pushed; I always relieved myself before going on a call so I wasn’t sure I had anything to give him, but I was damned sure going to try.  By some miracle I found some and forced it out, and he furiously played with himself while I did. 

But he wasn’t done turning my stomach yet; “Now shit on me,” was the next demand.

“I can’t!” I immediately snapped.  “I only have to do that in the morning.  I can’t do it now!”  That seemed to satisfy him, but he whined and pleaded until I helped him to finish masturbating himself by playing with his balls.  As soon as he was done I quickly got up, eschewing my customary client cleanup procedure; I was dressed in under a minute and was out the door with the minimum number of words required for the maintenance of professional decorum.  I then went straight over to the couple call; inside I was a bundle of nerves, but externally I was as composed and professional as usual.  They were as good customers as the first client had been bad, and by the end of the hour I was my usual happy self again and none the worse for wear.

In addition to serving as an example of human waste fetishes, this episode demonstrates my biggest problem with the typical male “submissive”:  Unlike a female sub, such a man doesn’t really want a strong, dominant partner but rather a woman who will appeal to his fetish by playing a certain role that dovetails with his preconceived fantasy-goddess figure.  In other words, he wants a wind-up disciplinarian whom he can take out of the closet whenever he wants to be whipped or verbally abused or have his genitals trodden upon or whatever.  Hence the popularity of the dominatrix; the male sub can call her whenever he feels like it, pay his fare and get what he wants, then forget about her until he gets the urge again.  No demands, just a servant who is willing to pretend to be the mistress.  And I just can’t stomach that kind of hypocrisy.

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I ache for the touch of your lips, dear,
But much more for the touch of your whips, dear.
You can raise welts
Like nobody else,
As we dance to the masochism tango.
  –  Tom Lehrer, “The Masochism Tango”

Yesterday we talked about male-dominant BDSM, which as I pointed out is much more common than its opposite; I would think it’s a fairly rare couple in which the husband has never held his wife down, spanked her or otherwise manhandled her during sex.  Female sexual biology responds to strong, virile, competent men, so the typical woman is turned off by submission or perceived weakness in men.  The result is that, as with every other type of sex, there aren’t enough women who are willing to give it away to take care of all the men who want it, and many if not most heterosexual male submissives must therefore pay for their needs to be taken care of.

A prostitute who specializes in female-dominant BDSM is called a dominatrix (also domme or femdom); the majority of them do not offer any other kind of sex, and indeed most of them do not consider themselves whores and may even be insulted if included in our number.  To them I say, “Tough titties, sisters!”  BDSM is a form of sexual activity; a woman who provides sex for pay is a prostitute; you provide BDSM for pay; therefore you provide sex for pay, therefore you are a prostitute.  Q.E.D.  You can call what you do “therapy” or “psychodrama” or whatever else you want, but it’s still sex.  What I provided was a form of therapy as well, but I’m still a hooker and so are you.  There are professional (male) dominants as well, but as with male prostitutes they make most of their income catering to male clients (though a few do manage to make a living training female slaves for their husbands or lovers).

For the most part men who seek to be dominated go to dominatrices, but a certain percentage seem to prefer getting it from generalists.  It’s not that escorts are cheaper, because in my experience the fees are comparable and indeed when I had my agency the dommes were charging a little bit less than we did.  It isn’t that they can’t find a specialist; New Orleans had several and yet we still got requests for it.  And it isn’t that those who provide both allow mixed sessions; the whore who will allow a man inside her after she has dominated him is a rare thing indeed, as I mentioned in my column of August  16th.  I suspect some of them were travelers without computers who were forced to rely on the phone book; others may have wanted it at the spur of the moment, and dommes usually don’t offer appointments on such short notice.  Also, most dominatrices prefer to stick to their own “dungeons”, so a man who prefers to be dominated at home may not be able to find one who will fulfill that request.  Perhaps some of them are afraid of specialists, and others have been turned down by them for one reason or another, but I’m willing to bet that the most common reason is that (like so many people) they think of whores as “dirty” and debased and therefore find the idea of being dominated by such a lowly creature even more exciting than submitting to a haughty dominatrix!

As the perceptive reader will already have ascertained, I don’t like doing domination.  I was what is called a GFE type escort, which means I provided a Girl Friend Experience; I would talk, listen, cuddle, honor most sexual requests and generally give a natural, comfortable sexual session for men who wanted and appreciated such things.  And though many men wanted other kinds of sexual experiences that I was also able to provide, I found it too difficult to “switch gears” between being a soft, sweet little sex kitten for one client to becoming a bitch goddess for the next and then back to sex kitten again for a third, all in the space of a single evening.  Even a chameleon needs some time to change colors!  So, although I would cater to “fetish” calls and light domination, I was more likely to do so in the afternoon or on a slow night when I knew I would have time to recover my energies and readjust my psychic frame of reference before visiting another client.  On busy evenings I usually tried to get out of such calls or even turned them down flat, and there were some I simply could not (such as those requiring extensive equipment) or would not (such as the ones who wanted me to use a dildo on them) cater to under any circumstances.  And if a man sprang such a request on me after a call was already in progress, I always categorically refused it.

Even when I did perform domination calls, I’m afraid I wasn’t very good at them; I didn’t have a mental script prepared as dominatrices do, and therefore felt at a loss to fill the time in a way which would satisfy the client.  I always hated being called “mistress” by a man as I find it creepy, so I demanded they use “my lady” instead because that felt like a natural and proper form of address from a social inferior to a noblewoman.  I also strongly suspect that my disgust at seeing a male grovel tended to inspire a bit more unconscious cruelty on my part than was strictly necessary; I’m not sure most of these men wanted to be beaten quite as hard with their belts as I generally ended up beating them.  Once I actually triggered a “freakout” in such a client; he became terrified and scrambled to a corner, forgetting his safe word in the process.  Fortunately I realized his reaction was genuine and got things back under control, but even so I felt angry at myself for pushing the poor fellow beyond his boundary!

As I mentioned yesterday, there are many different kinks under the wide umbrella we call BDSM, and the stereotyped mistress/slave, spanking and bootlicking session is only one of them.  I’ve already discussed the infantilist we called “Diaper Man” in my column of August 12th, and I’ll reserve one broad type for tomorrow’s column because it certainly deserves one of its own, but today I want to describe one of the most unusual regulars we ever had.  I say “we” because he was a service regular rather than mine; there was no way I could have provided what he was looking for.  He started out, in fact, as Grace’s regular, the only one she ever had with our service.  Grace was an escort in late 1980s Atlanta and because of her height specialized in domination and fetish calls, but like many women of American Indian blood had not aged well and had grown a bit thick.  Though she was only in her early forties she was no longer interested in escorting, so I was rather surprised when Doug called one day and said he had a call for her!

The client, he said, wanted a woman to wrestle with, and though he was a slender man he still needed a woman large and strong enough to legitimately beat him; apparently it was only exciting to him if his partner won fair and square!  Grace is 5’10” tall (178 centimeters) and at the time weighed about 180# (82kg); the client was not much shorter, but was easily forty pounds lighter.  Since a man is a man I was unwilling to risk that situation without supervision; their first few sessions were therefore incalls, with me in attendance nearby.  Grace later told me that he wasn’t easy to beat, but had poor leverage so she was able to use her weight to pin him.

After that, he called about once a month, but grew ever more tiresome; first he wanted calls early on Saturday morning (when we most needed our sleep to prepare for the longest night of the week), then he started quibbling about the price, and then he decided he didn’t like me there and so wanted Grace to meet him at a cheap, nasty little hotel.  When she got back and told me he had subtracted the cost of the room from her already-low ($200) fee, I declared we would no longer accept his business, and told him so the next time he called.  But there weren’t many women who could give him what he wanted, so he eventually started calling us again and I offered him to Jeanette (the kickboxer), warning her of his bad traits in the process.  She accepted the call and he saw her for a while, but I think she must have defeated him a little too easily because he eventually stopped calling!

I don’t think this client’s sexuality was all that different from that of the ones who need to be dominated by a mistress; he just wanted to be dominated more literally and physically than most.  But the clients we’ll discuss tomorrow are quite another matter entirely, and I warn you in advance that you may find it a bit difficult to read.

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Whenever I call upon a woman I never fail to take with me a little whip.  –  Friedrich Nietzsche

Well, I’ve already talked about my bisexuality and the fact that being paid for sex excites me, so I might as well complete my confessional and admit that I’m terribly turned on by being tied up, and always have been.  In my column of July 28th I mentioned that certain situations on TV made me feel “funny”, but that nobody else seemed affected; that’s because most of those situations involved bondage.  Most people seem able to watch a scene of a woman being tied up without sexual arousal, but not me; watching girls being captured by bandits, carried off by monsters or chained and collared as slaves did it for me as well.  Of course when I was four I had no idea what sex was and could not possibly have connected it to bondage even if I had; the recognition of the “funny feelings” as sexual did not come until I was about 12.  But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the part of the damsel in distress in neighborhood make-believe games; somehow I usually managed to be the girl who was carried off or captured by the bad guys and had to be rescued.  And if I was lucky they had rope handy and would really tie me to a tree or chair!

By the time I turned 17 I had discovered that if a man held my wrists down during sex it really got me going, so the first time a trusted boyfriend asked if he could tie me up I obviously agreed with great enthusiasm.  That in turn led to blindfolds, gags, handcuffs, dominance and submission games and even spanking and whipping; though pain never really did anything for me, the act of submitting to the whipping was terribly exciting.  In other words, it wasn’t the pain which turned me on but the fact that a man had the power to do it to me.  Though neofeminists deny it, the fact is that most women are sexually aroused to one degree or another by being dominated by a man in a sexual situation; most male-dominant BDSM is an exaggeration of the normal female impulse rather than something completely different, which is why the rape fantasy is still among the most common of female sexual fantasies.  The opposition of neofeminists to BDSM, like their opposition to prostitution, has nothing to do with their self-proclaimed “concern” for women and everything to do with their tired old anti-sex agenda.  Neofeminism treats all non-neofeminist women as imbeciles and denies we have the right to make our own sexual choices when those choices conflict with neofeminist dogma.  This is, of course, done “for our own good”; funny how often that phrase comes up whenever sex is concerned.

BDSM is a composite umbrella term which includes bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D/s), and sadomasochism (S&M), three different but intertwined and overlapping practices based on the principle of power exchange, the voluntary surrendering of power over one’s person to someone else.  Bondage and discipline involves physically restraining the subject with ropes, handcuffs and the like or psychologically restraining her with rules or training enforced with punishment; dominance and submission refers to a master-slave relationship, and sadomasochism refers to the giving and receiving of pain.  All three may be present to varying degrees in a BDSM “scene”, and different people are excited to differing degrees by different aspects.  As I said above, I am most turned on by bondage and pain does little for me; I’m especially partial to the classic capture scenario, and struggling against a man’s greater strength until he overcomes me has an appeal I cannot possibly overstate.  But a friend of mine finds restraint completely unappealing, and instead prefers to be spanked; yet another friend wants to be tied, but only to keep her from escaping a whipping.  The subject of BDSM is so wide and complex that it would be ludicrous in the extreme to even attempt more than the sketchiest overview in this format; hundreds of books have been written on the subject, and I direct the curious reader to this overview article in Wikipedia and this online resource guide.  My purpose in this column is only to touch on the subject to the limited degree required in order to examine its relationship with harlotry.

The first and most important connection between the two is that, like all variations from the most mundane and “vanilla” form of sex, they are perennial targets of attempts at suppression by bluenoses and control freaks.  Like prostitution, BDSM activities are illegal in many jurisdictions despite being practiced by consenting adults, and though practitioners are not targeted as often or as viciously as prostitutes there are exceptions like the UK’s Operation Spanner.  Ignorance of both BDSM and prostitution is epidemic among the general public, and the media delights in perpetuating insulting and ridiculous stereotypes of both which tend to reinforce both public prejudice and official persecution.  And neofeminists intentionally mischaracterize both as “abuse” or “violations of women’s rights” and deny that adult women have the right to choose either.

But BDSM is abuse, isn’t it?  For a man to beat a woman or tie her up or force her to have sex is wrong and illegal, isn’t it?  Of course, unless that’s what she wants!  Pushing a person out of an airplane constitutes murder, yet many people jump out of airplanes of their own free will every day.  The difference is that they freely choose to do so and wear parachutes.  The “parachute” in BDSM is called a “safe word”; it’s a word unlikely to come up in normal conversation which the two parties have agreed will mean “stop”.  Words like “no” or “stop” can’t be used because they are part of the scene; it turns me on to scream “no, please don’t!” and other such phrases while my husband subdues me and he ignores them because they are not my safe word (which, BTB, I’ve never had to use in 25 years of BDSM participation).  Many things, especially in sex, are a good fantasy but a very bad reality; this is because sex derives from a primal, irrational portion of the brain which responds to shadowy, instinctive drives we’ve carried there since before we came down from the trees.  A powerful, aggressive male sires powerful, aggressive sons, so the natural female impulse is to respond sexually to such a man, even if her rational brain tells her otherwise; the corresponding male impulse is to overpower and take women sexually, even if morality and sense dictate otherwise.  BDSM play is a way to feed those cavewoman and caveman impulses without really hurting anyone, being hurt or breaking any moral or statutory laws.  Rape fantasies are the simplest example; many women (including myself) are very aroused by them, and romance novels are full of them.  But that does NOT mean any woman (including myself) really wants to be raped!  Fantasy rapes are always conducted by a man one really wants anyhow and carry no fear of death or mutilation; real rapes are truly against one’s will and carry the fear of terrible consequences.

It’s not unusual for mild BDSM activity to take place in calls; in my column of August 11th I described a regular I referred to as the Sadist because he was turned on by calling me dirty names, giving vulgar orders and slapping my bottom hard enough to leave handprints for an hour or so.  Many clients enjoy holding women down during sex, receiving fellatio in a standing position from a kneeling girl, pulling a whore’s hair during rear-entry sex, and other such mild and safe forms of domination.  Less honorable specimens prefer to insult girls on the phone or when they arrive and thereby stimulate themselves while denying the girl income (Barbie seemed to attract this type for some reason; I used to just laugh at them and thereby ruin their thrill).

But all this is tame compared with serious BDSM activity; few escorts dare to cater to bondage scenes because once a strange man has one bound and helpless there is no telling what might happen.  Some brothels employ professional submissives, because another girl can be assigned to supervise; Sheila (the redhead from Down Under I’ve mentioned before) worked for a while in the late ‘90s in a brothel in Amsterdam and often performed this guard duty.  She told me that she once did this for a whipping session with a Saudi prince; as soon as the girl signified she could take no more, the royal client offered her 100 guilders (roughly $50 US) to let him hit her one more time and she agreed.  He then offered it again, and again, and again; though the girl was clearly beyond her limit her greed would not let her refuse and Sheila, realizing the obscenely rich sadist could do this all day, stopped it.

I’ve done mild bondage in two-girl calls if I really trusted the other girl, but only once did I agree to it alone.  The client seemed very reasonable and was quite persuasive; he told me all he wanted was to tie me up and then masturbate over me, that it would take less than half an hour, and that I could take any precautions I wished to ensure my safety.  The hotel was a very expensive one and I felt comfortable with the offer; my husband agreed to it on the condition that he would be parked outside and would call me at exactly the half-hour mark and come banging on the door if I didn’t answer by the second or third attempt (cell phones being what they are).  The client was both nice and incredibly skillful; after he paid me and I stripped, he had me totally hog-tied and helpless in under three minutes.  Seriously, I have never seen such speed and precision in knot-tying; I was utterly immobilized yet not in the least uncomfortable, and I was more excited than I had ever been on a call before.  As promised, he took under half an hour and was just finished when the ring came; what followed was actually very amusing because he had to answer for me and hold the phone against my face after pulling the gag from my mouth!  Needless to say, I could barely wait to get home and let my husband have his way with me.

I’ve limited myself today to talking only about male-dominant BDSM, which is much more common in the general population because it derives directly from biological impulses and often appears in the subtle forms we’ve discussed above.  The media, however, prefers to concentrate on the rarer female-dominant variety precisely because it does go against the norm of male-female sexual roles and is therefore more lurid and titillating to the public.  But though it is less common in noncommercial settings it’s far more common in commercial ones, for reasons we will explore tomorrow.

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I know not what to do, my mind is divided.  –  Sappho

As I’ve said several times already, I am bisexual.  I suspect many more women are (to one degree or another) than let on even in these comparatively liberal times; we do, after all, tend to be creatures of the mean rather than of the extremes as men are.  When talking about women of my own personal acquaintance, it’s easier for me to name the women who are in no way bisexual than to list the many who are!  But most of these are more “bi-curious” than anything else; they enjoy looking at pictures of other women or fantasizing about them, and they may even have occasional lesbian encounters, but they’ve never been in love with another woman and probably never will be.  I, on the other hand, am about as bisexual as it’s possible to be; I’ve been attracted to both sexes since childhood and have had more relationships with women than I have with men (though my number of actual sexual experiences with men is far higher for reasons which should be obvious).

As I’ve already described in my column of July 16th, I respond differently to the two sexes:

I’m attracted to men below the waist and women above the waist.  In other words, my reaction to men is primal and visceral, but my reaction to women is aesthetic.  I feel the attraction to a man in my guts, and I can’t tell from a picture whether I will be attracted to him or not; I have to see and talk to him.  Women, on the other hand, appeal to my appreciation for beauty; I feel the attraction in my mind and heart rather than my guts.

Because of this, it was inevitable that I would eventually settle into a long-term committed relationship with a man rather than a woman; though I feel differently today, back then I didn’t think aesthetics were as sound a basis for a relationship as what I considered biological and neurological complementarity.  But that view certainly didn’t evolve overnight; I had my first girlfriend in my senior year of high school, less than a year after losing my virginity, and since it illustrates a few points I think it’s worth a paragraph.

I’m going to call her Mae, because she was curvy and sultry like her idol Mae West.  She had black hair and her skin was even fairer than mine; some girls called her “Snow White” for that reason.  We had very similar eyes and were almost the same height, so when we went places together people often took us for sisters.  But there was nothing sisterly about our feelings for one another; we had been friends for two years and often joked about lesbian love in front of our schoolmates, but nothing had ever come of it until one day in September of 1982 when we were sitting on her couch after school.  We had been talking about the 1920s and the conversation had ranged from F. Scott Fitzgerald to John Dillinger’s legendary penis, and at some point the conversation just lapsed and we sat staring into each other’s eyes.  And then I kissed her, and she responded with great passion; a few days later I stayed overnight (in those days nobody thought anything of two teenage girls sharing a bed) and we went much farther.  The secret relationship continued until May, when she sensibly broke it off on the grounds that we were both going to different schools and her boyfriend just would not understand any more than anybody else would.  I don’t think she was ever in love with me, though I certainly was with her; consequently, I felt hurt and upset and depressed and all the other things one feels when a lover breaks up with one.  We talked a great deal that summer and even fell back into bed together once, but it was over; Jeff did his best to distract me and with the resilience of the very young I was largely OK by a month into my first semester at UNO.

Now, I’ve never been sexually aggressive; I have never consciously “come on” to a man in my life, and the very idea of actually suggesting sex to someone I’m not already involved with fills me with horror.  Honestly, I have no idea how men manage it!  But with other women the aversion to starting things isn’t quite so pronounced, so with Mae (and a few other girls over the years whose body language absolutely assured me of their interest) I was able to suppress my natural tendency toward receptivity enough to allow nature to take its course.  My first lesbian relationship also set another pattern which was never broken:  Every such encounter I’ve ever had was with a bisexual woman, and either she or I or both always had a separate relationship with a man.  To my knowledge, I’ve never been with an exclusive lesbian; I suspect the very fact of their exclusivity (not to mention the odd grooming habits so common among them) turned me off to the idea.

The one characteristic of my first lesbian relationship which did not continue in my others was its secretiveness.  I decided it was too stressful, and since I was now a young adult interacting with other young adults in a sexually tolerant environment I made no secret of my bisexuality.  I was delighted to find that not only was this generally accepted in the circles in which I moved, but also that it tended to inspire invitations to participate in threesomes.  Now that I think of it, my several years in that lifestyle may have helped to become more comfortable with the reality of prostitution, not only because people were calling me specifically for sex (without the trappings of dating), but also because I was the “other woman” many times over, even if the wife did know about it.

All that of course changed when I became involved with Jack; when we first started out I told him my philosophy of acceptable dalliances:  Fooling around with girls is cheating for neither, but fooling around with guys is cheating for either.  He claimed to be fine with that at first, but soon became so jealous of my then-current girlfriend that I stopped seeing her.  For the rest of our relationship my only lesbian encounters happened during our frequent breakups, and even those were rare because of the emotional turmoil inherent in the on-again off-again situation; when he finally left me in January of 1995 I was in no state to become involved with anybody, male or female.  Aside from one encounter with an old girlfriend in November of 1996, I had not been with another woman in the better part of a decade when I started doing two-girl shows while working as a stripper in 1998.

By that time I was living with Grace, who is absolutely heterosexual:  As she used to say to me when I tried to talk about two-girl calls, “Maggie, if you wanna rub muffins with somebody that’s your business, but I don’t wanna hear about it!”  This of course did not stop neighbors from making stupid modern assumptions; once when I one my way to a multi-hour dinner call one of them asked where I was going all dressed up.

When I told her I was going on a date (which was true; she didn’t need to know it was a professional one) she seemed surprised and said, “But I thought you and Grace were…”

“Lesbians?” I finished after she trailed off.  “No, not at all!  I’m bi, but she isn’t my type, and besides she’s only interested in men.”  She of course apologized profusely, but I was far more amused than offended.

For the next seven years I had plenty of lesbian activity; since many of the wives in couple calls were attractive I usually enjoyed them, and since I hand-picked my partners for two-girl calls I made sure they were desirable to me whenever possible.  I’ve already mentioned Cynthia and Dawn, both of whom were pretty, bisexual, as attracted to me as I was to them and great kissers beside.  But between and after them there were a number of other girls I found attractive, and though I could never bring myself to make advances on any of them I didn’t have to; I would simply offer the “Flavor of the Month” a two-girl call with me and observe her reaction.  Some were uninterested in such calls, and others accepted but were clearly just putting on a show.  But a few were themselves bisexual, and in such cases the client got more than his money’s worth!  “Flavor of the Month” was my husband’s term for such girls; many of them were just passing through town, or decided the business didn’t really agree with them, so they rarely lasted very long.  The title was therefore appropriate if not precise.  Unlike Jack he was not jealous of such girls; he knew I wasn’t going to become emotionally involved, and beside that he knew he was in for a really good time whenever I arranged a three-way for him with one!

In all that time, I only went on two calls in which a lone woman (unencumbered by a man) was interested in paying for sex with another woman.  The first such case was otherwise unremarkable; except for her gender it was really a lot like the typical call with a male client.  But the second was completely different; she was a few years younger than I was and very attractive, and she spoke frankly to me about how much she missed having a girlfriend.  It turned out she and I were in much the same space mentally; though we were uninterested in being unfaithful to our husbands with men, both of us liked having a girlfriend as well.  Unlike my husband, though, hers was too conventional to be turned on by such an arrangement.  I truly enjoyed the sex with her, and she called me several times that weekend; she was actually quite sexually aggressive and got both very vocal and excitingly rough when she was nearing orgasm (for example, she’s the only woman I was ever with who slapped me on the rump as men do).  It turned out that she was from a city not very far from my country place, so I suggested she try to sell her husband on the idea of a three-way, timed during one of my visits to the country.  She promised to consider it, but alas nothing ever came of that.  It would’ve been nice to have a regular girlfriend again, and think of the benefits to both of our husbands!

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If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.  –  William Blake

In my column of August 15th I pointed out that one of an escort’s greatest assets is the ability to blend into her environment and thereby remain invisible.  But as with creatures in nature or military camouflage, no disguise is perfect; even if the escort makes no mistake whatsoever, some people have an infallible instinct which allows them to see the truth about others no matter how well-hidden.

Usually, such instinct derives from experience; I know that I have no trouble spotting most escorts, and they can spot me with equal facility.  As Linda used to say in her inimitably déclassé fashion, “A ho knows a ho.”  Many a time I met another girl going into a hotel I was leaving or vice versa, and often we exchanged smiles; once another working girl struck up a whole (though disguised) conversation with me when we found ourselves riding down in the same elevator.  And on one memorable occasion a streetwalker approached me bold as brass while I was getting into my car and asked for a ride; while en route she began a conversation with, “I wish I had what it takes to be an escort.”  I was quite sure on these occasions that I was not dealing with a disguised policewoman; though I’ve never met such a creature, I’m sure her “vibe” would be completely different.

Cops love to imagine that they have the ability to detect “criminals” (including, in their minds, whores) by a finely-honed instinct, but this is in most cases as mythical as the superior driving skill many of them claim to possess.  Undoubtedly many cops can detect nervous behavior (big deal, so can most people), and since true criminals tend to behave nervously around uniformed cops it isn’t any great surprise that they notice criminals sometimes.  But this common ability has no power to detect one who isn’t worried; I’ve often been chatted up by uniformed cops while on my way to or from a call, with never a hint they thought I was anything other than a businesswoman.

I can only recall one exception, a cop who was working a “detail” (a private security job outside his normal duty hours) for one of the large hotels on Bourbon Street.  Because of the large number of drunk tourists that crowd the area on weekends, this hotel always hired uniformed off-duty cops to guard its lobby from inebriated non-guests who might otherwise wander in from the street.  I usually avoided these cops by the simple expedient of entering via the hotel’s parking garage, but in this particular instance my cell phone battery had died so I needed to check in and out via the room phone.  When I checked out, Doug let me know he had another call for me; since it would be the height of crassness to take such information down in front of the client I had to walk down to the bank of pay phones near the front door, and on the way I passed the cops at their guard positions.  I got the info from Doug, called the client and arranged my appointment, then started back toward the parking garage to leave.  But when I passed the cops, one of them hailed me with a smile and said, “Girl, in your job you ought to get you a cell phone.”

I replied, “Oh, I’ve got one, but I forgot to charge it.”

He then waved and said, “Have a good night!”

“You, too!” I answered.  It was obvious that he knew exactly what I was, and equally obvious that he didn’t care; I of course said nothing incriminating, but even so I was glad he wasn’t a vice cop!  Perhaps he had seen me before on other nights; I suspect most men remember pretty faces better than average ones, and he may have worked that same detail many times and therefore had ample opportunity to notice me.  Or perhaps he was observant enough to work out the escort pattern, and I fit it closely enough for him to hazard a guess.  Or perhaps he really did have the ability to see through facades, in which case I certainly hope the department eventually promoted him into a position where his talent could be better employed!

Another perceptive man in a hotel actually turned into a client.  I was riding up in the elevator with him and he struck up a conversation, obviously in the hope of “getting lucky”; he obviously assumed I was a guest in the hotel as he was, and asked if I was turning in for the night.  I replied with something like “probably not just yet,” and at that moment the doors opened to my floor and I bid him good night.  He had a sort of quizzical look on his face, though, and it was obvious he had clearly understood my comment.  But I didn’t realize how well he had understood it until I got out of the call some forty minutes later and found him lurking about in the elevator hallway despite the fact that he had originally gone beyond this floor to a higher one.

“Well, hello again,” I said pointedly.

He looked around to make sure we were alone, then quietly asked me “Did you mean what I think you meant earlier?”

I smiled, saying “That all depends on what you think I meant, doesn’t it?” and handed him my card.  I knew he was safe; this hotel was one of the morally-run establishments which refused to allow the NOPD to practice their evil games in its rooms.

Either he had done this before or was just naturally discreet, because he asked, “How much would an hour of your time cost?”

“$300,” I answered, and he agreed.  Grace was none too pleased when I called; it just didn’t seem right to her, but as I reminded her it was actually safer than a typical call because I had been able to look the man in the eye before committing myself to anything.  It turned out to be a very normal call, though especially nice for me since there was no travel time at all!

The Vieux Carré (French Quarter) is absolutely infested with tour groups; it’s impossible for a native to go six blocks in any direction without running into one.  The most popular of these are conducted from horse-drawn buggies whose drivers entertain the tourists with a colorful mixture of common local knowledge, facts learned from other guides, half-remembered history, exaggerated and/or distorted facts, pure hokum and outright lies; I suspect some of it is made up on the spot.  That was certainly the case with one such driver who passed me one spring day; I was in no great rush, so instead of my usual brisk walk I was slowly perambulating along in a rather filmy long-skirted dress.  I heard the carriage approaching but as usual paid it no mind until I overheard the driver saying to his passengers, “Y’all have heard the song about New Orleans ladies sashayin’ by, and there’s one of ‘em right there.”  A quick glance around revealed that I was the only woman on the block, so he clearly meant me; I doubt he intended me to hear him, but I have unusually sharp hearing.  It’s certainly possible (though unlikely) that he didn’t realize the song was about whores; perhaps my lazy sashay simply called it to mind.  Somehow, I doubt it.

But none of these men was as amazing as the middle-aged American Indian I saw one night in (I think) 2004; he told me he lived on a reservation in New Mexico and was in town to visit a friend, and it was pretty obvious he was stoned.  I don’t know if it was peyote or something more mundane, but whatever it was opened the doors of his perception to an astonishing degree.  The first sign came when I was demonstrating my oral skills; there’s a particular trick I use which must be very unusual because many clients have either asked where I learned it or told me no girl had ever done it to them before.  But my Indian knew exactly where I had learned it; he suddenly said “I think bisexual women are especially beautiful.”

I was a bit surprised and asked, “How did you know I’m bisexual?”

He replied, “Because what you’re doing to me is like what you would do to a woman.”  And he was right; I had adapted the technique from one I use in lesbian encounters.  The clitoris and penis are analogous structures, after all.

But he didn’t stop there; he proceeded to make similar comments for the next half-hour.  He knew I was divorced, childless and remarried; his fingers found nearly-imperceptible scars from old accidents and correctly deduced their causes.  It was nothing short of incredible, and when I asked how he could tell so much he simply shrugged and said, “I’m a shaman.”  He then held me close and gently caressed me, telling me that he wanted to enjoy the beauty of my spirit more than that of my body.

Eventually he fell asleep, and when I left I said to his friend in the next room, “Your friend is an amazing man.”

He agreed, saying “He’s always been like that; I’ve known him all my life and it still spooks me sometimes.”

For whatever reason, some people are more able than others to penetrate the veils we wear to cloak ourselves from a world in which many deny our right to live and work; fortunately, such individuals are rare and usually uninterested in using their gifts to harm us.

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I normally write a few columns ahead, but I’ve been so busy lately I used up my entire buffer and thus found myself with nothing for today.  On top of that, my husband is leaving on an extended business trip tomorrow so my readers will understand if I want to spend as much time as possible with him today.  So, I’m publishing a story I wrote way back in 1985; I don’t recall what part of the year it was, but I suspect it was before my birthday so I was 18 when I wrote this and my first official trick was only a few months in the past (see my column of July 29th).  The protagonist of this story definitely isn’t a professional; she’s just a plain old university slut.  Also, note the obvious period references, which I hope don’t date it too badly!  I hope y’all enjoy this peek at my immature writing style, and I promise things will be back to normal tomorrow.

Greek God

It was on an uncomfortably warm, muggy day in late December that she met him, standing across the room from her with a chicken salad finger sandwich in one hand and a glass of punch in the other – standing there talking to some little air-head from the philosophy department.  He looks like a Greek god, she thought, with that body and that hair and that smile.  Like a damned Greek god.

As she stared, trying not to be obvious, his eyes caught hers, and he smiled, the kind of smile that someone who knows exactly what one is thinking has.  He looked only for a few seconds, then turned his gaze back to the blonde with the hyperactive anatomy.  She went over to Claire (the secretary from Liberal Arts) and asked who he was, and was informed that he was one of the graduate students in literature – Ancient European, she thought, or Ancient Near East, something like that.  Did she want to be introduced?  Claire wanted to know.  No, that was all right; she wanted to do everything herself this time.  That way, if she screwed it up, she would have only herself to blame.

After considering the best way to approach the matter for several minutes (during which time she consumed three and a half deviled eggs, two cheese crackers and a Diet Coke), she decided that he looked like the kind of no-nonsense guy who would appreciate the direct approach.  About this time, Miss Peroxide excused herself to go to the “little girls’ room,” probably because that dress of hers left very little room for bladder expansion.  This was just the opening she was looking for, so she swallowed, quickly smoothed her hair, and began to ease over; she almost stopped, however, when he turned directly toward her just as she began to move in his direction.  Instead, she answered his smile and continued on.

Things became infinitely more difficult when she reached him, because he said nothing; he just stood there, looking at her with a stare that cut right through her.  It made her feel positively naked, and scared her a little as well.  It wasn’t that she had never been naked in front of a man before; this was different.  His stare made her feel naked not only to him, but to everyone else in the room as well.  It was as though he knew her desire for him already, and was letting everyone else in the room know it, too.  The strangest part about it was, it didn’t matter to her.

After what seemed an eternity she heard herself utter a salutation, followed by some kind of stupid crap about not knowing what to do or say at these functions.  He just laughed a delightful laugh and replied that one didn’t need to do anything except be here and be seen to be here.  Politics, he said.  After that, he started asking polite social questions which some part of her answered and returned, while the bulk of her mind was busy taking in the sound of his voice and the way it so perfectly fit in with the rest of him.

Fit.  Fit.  It was that word which stuck in her mind until she realized why – realized while he talked about the space shuttle or Nicaragua or something like that – realized that he didn’t fit here.  He seemed totally out of place in this room, totally out of place even in this world.  There was something… unearthly about him, although she couldn’t place just what it was.  It wasn’t his Greek-god looks or his hypnotic voice or anything like that; it was more like an aura about him, the way he carried himself.  He seemed as though he had simply popped into the world from somewhere else, or sprung full-grown from the Earth.  He seemed only a visitor to this world, someone passing through it rather than one who was limited only to the confines of its space.

The effect, she realized after a few moments, was like that of the human guest star on The Muppet Show; an absurd idea, but one which she felt held a basic truth.  He seemed to share some private joke with himself, as though he could see the puppeteers moving below everyone else, leaving him as the only free agent.  It seemed almost sinful for him to be here, like throwing pearls before swine.  It was sinful to trap someone like him in this kind of situation, to force him to engage in the trite, polite, required social conversation that he was at that moment engaged in.  But was he actually being forced, or was it merely his game?  Perhaps he accepted the conventions for some unknown purpose of his own.

She abruptly realized that he had stopped speaking and was simply watching her again; she also realized that she had been standing there, saying absolutely nothing, for perhaps a full minute.  She mumbled an apology, but he just smiled and shrugged.  At some point the blonde had returned, giggling at some inane joke she had just been told by one on the professors.  Luckily she had to go to work or something,  and after giving him her number and being told that his was in the book, she made eyes at him one more time and left.  His eyes then returned to those of his quieter companion.  She realized that this was a perfect lead-in.  Was he going anywhere? she wanted to know, and was told that he wasn’t; not anywhere in particular, at least.  He was easily talked into going down to the local burger joint for early dinner.

He had an amazing appetite, which rather surprised her; he was trim and didn’t seem to have the room to put all that.  She usually resented people who could put away three times as much food as she did and never gain a pound, but this was different; it was almost as if he was trying to sample as many different things as possible because he was unused to them, and he seemed to enjoy the greasy fast food as much as one would the fare at an expensive restaurant.  They took their time, not leaving until it was almost sunset, and their conversation continued as he climbed into her compact car and wedged his knees up against the dashboard.  Since it was obvious he was comfortable and in no hurry, she decided that she would simply drive back to her place without any further discussion.

When they got to the complex, he got out and walked with her to her apartment as though it were the most natural thing in the entire universe; after she unlocked the door he opened it, closing and latching it behind them as though he had done it many times before.  He then sat down in the big chair and remarked on what a nice place she had, asked if the rent was reasonable, and other such typical small-talk.  She asked if he wanted something to drink, and he just nodded without asking what she had; after what she had seen in the restaurant she wasn’t surprised.  He would probably be happy with whatever she gave him, but she decided against giving him alcohol; it seemed wrong to offer him such a Muppet beverage.

After turning on the TV set to some dumb program simply to have background noise, she kicked off her shoes, claimed she was going to change into jeans, and went off to the bathroom while he watched the show (or at least pretended to).  She sat down on the side of the tub and turned over and over in her mind how she could seduce him without coming off as a complete slut, then realized that he had already formed his opinion of her and nothing she could do now was going to change it any.  Accordingly, she changed into a short silk robe with two Chinese dragons on the back, brushed her teeth and hair, fixed her face and sprayed on her best perfume (all as quickly as possible), then returned to the living room.

It was growing dark, but she did not turn on the lights; the flickering television glow and spillover from the bedroom was sufficient for her purposes.  She sat on the carpet near his feet and smiled at him; he returned the smile and said it was always fascinating to watch a serious student turn back into a woman.  She soon found her hand in his, and her heart raced as he drew her up into his lap.  She wasn’t sure if he kissed her first or if it was her idea, but it hardly mattered; they kissed passionately and before she was entirely aware of what was going on they were in her bed and his hands and mouth were exploring her naked body, the robe having somehow not made it that far.

Eventually, he sat on the edge of the bed to remove his boots, then stood up to undress.  As she gazed at his physique silhouetted in the bathroom light, she thought to herself once more how good-looking he was.  Like a damned Greek god.  Then he dropped his pants to the floor, and a scream froze in her throat as she realized just how right she had really been all along.

He just smiled and idly tapped his right hoof on the bedroom floor.

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As with my “New Movie Reviews” column last month, these are simply new book reviews which I’m adding to the bibliography page and didn’t want regular readers to miss!

The Comfort Women: Japan’s Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War by George L. Hicks

Once the Japanese Empire started to expand in the 1930s, some 200,000 women (many of them Korean) were enslaved in Japanese military brothels; at first most were tricked into it, but later all pretense was dropped and they were simply abducted and forced into a life of abuse and degradation.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the issue of comfort women was completely ignored at the Tokyo war crimes trials (these women were only whores, after all, even if they weren’t before the Japanese captured them)  More shocking, however, is the fact that the Japanese government continues to deny the facts to this day, preferring to claim that the comfort women were all professional prostitutes who volunteered for the duty and were well-paid in spite of the fact that the surviving comfort women unanimously deny this and the fact that the claimed level of payment would have cost the Japanese treasury hundreds of millions of yen per month at a time it could not possibly afford such an expense.  This is not an easy book to read; I’m not easily brought to tears, yet  found myself weeping bitterly several times while reading it.  This book should be required reading for all the silly asses who claim voluntary adult prostitution in a free society is equivalent to “sexual slavery”; I defy anyone who has read it to ever again compare the life of ANY Western sex worker with this abomination.

Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

Robert Heinlein had some very advanced ideas about sexuality; in Stranger in a Strange Land he even predicted the rise of “free love” a decade before it became popular.  He speaks highly of whores in a number of his works, but perhaps none as much as in this one.  The title character is a genetically engineered woman, an “artificial person” as her society terms it; like prostitutes in many past cultures she is therefore viewed as not fully human.  Friday is a futuristic secret courier, and part of her training was in the art and science of harlotry; the means by which she survives a rape early in the book generated considerable controversy, but is not unlike my own method (relax and go with it if it’s inevitable because if you fight you may be hurt or even killed).  Heinlein’s female characters are often based on his beloved wife Virginia, and Friday is no exception; they’re usually extremely intelligent, resourceful and competent, highly pragmatic and unrepentantly feminine (one critic called them “boy scouts with tits”).  Apparently, many men see me as a living Heinlein character because I was on a number of occasions asked, “Have you ever read any Robert Heinlein?” or even specifically, “Have you ever read Friday?”  I always considered it a high compliment.

The Happy Hooker by Xaviera Hollander

Though much of it seems tame almost 40 years later, the importance of this book cannot be overstated.  Xaviera Hollander was among the first prostitutes to come forward to enlighten people about our profession, just as I and many others are still trying to do today.  But unlike today, the conventional reading audience in 1972 was far more accepting of unconventional sexuality, and Hollander’s book became a best-seller.  Does she pander to the masses by concentrating on the sex?  Absolutely.  Are some of her stories exaggerated?  Undoubtedly.  But that isn’t the point; the point is that a woman had the nerve to say “I am a prostitute, and I’m not degraded or miserable or drug-addicted or enslaved,” and the public of those far more enlightened times said “OK, that’s cool.”  The new edition of this book is a measure of how much times have changed; ten pages of material (including an experience with a German Shepherd which even shocked me when I first read this book in high school) have now been cut, and some of Hollander’s language and attitudes (such as her opinion of homosexual men) have been bowdlerized and/or rendered politically correct.  This book was one of my first eye-openers, and still deserves to be read; however, I suggest you find a copy of the original edition in a (physical or online) used-book store rather than reading the whitewashed new edition.

My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday

This was another groundbreaking book published at the height of the sexual revolution; it consists of Friday taking a metaphorical sledgehammer to the Madonna/whore duality by daring to publish the real sexual fantasies of real women (including students, housewives, professional women, and others across the spectrum) and thereby revealing the “whore” side of the average Madonna.  Though some parts of the book seem tame by modern standards, others (such as fantasies about rape and animals) shock today’s repressed audiences more than they did the book’s original audience in 1972.  Then, few sexual subjects were taboo; now, unfortunately, writing about such things can get one censored or even criminally prosecuted.  Unlike The Happy Hooker, the newest edition of this one is not expurgated; take a look at the reviews on Amazon and you’ll get a feel for modern reactions to it.  When I first read a used copy in 8th grade I found it terribly liberating because it helped me to understand that I wasn’t a “pervert”; I think it still has that power today, maybe even more so.  In the early ’70s many people denied normal women even had sexual fantasies, but in 2010 lots of other people deny normal women have some of these fantasies in particular.

Storyville, New Orleans: Being an Authentic, Illustrated Account of the Notorious Red Light District by Al Rose

This deeply researched, profusely illustrated volume is full of meticulous detail but is never dry; if you would like to know more about the laws, culture, houses, women, customers, musicians and other aspects of life in The District, this book is for you.  And throughout, the author shows again and again that legalized prostitution is better for everyone both in and out of the trade on every level, from social to legal to economic; it should be required reading for anyone entering politics.

United States of America vs. Sex: How the Meese Commission Lied About Pornography by Philip Nobile

The Meese Commission was the Reagan administration’s attempt to invent a legitimate excuse for suppressing porn, which at the time was beginning to explode due to the advent of home video; a hand-picked panel of anti-pornography crusaders (including “Focus On the Family” preacher James Dobson and Judith Becker, a former songwriter for Captain Kangaroo) was convened under Attorney General Edwin Meese and assigned to watch porn movies and read adult books.  They stole and distorted the work of legitimate scientists (many of who filed angry protests against the misuse of their research), inserted their own opinions as fact and ignored reams of data from the Scandinavian countries, yet still could find absolutely no evidence that porn was harmful in any way; this did not stop them from issuing a concluding statement which basically translates as “despite the fact that we couldn’t find any evidence to support it, we think porn is harmful anyway.  So there.”  I read this book when I was a librarian, and though the commission itself is now long-forgotten by the Great Unwashed, its story serves as a valuable object lesson of the lengths to which governments in general (and the United States government in particular) will go to suppress the sex trade.  And though the Meese Commission failed and porn is here to stay, its tactics are alive and well in current government “studies” of the “inherent danger” of prostitution to society in general and women in particular.

Unrepentant Whore:  The Collected Works of Scarlot Harlot by Carol Leigh

I don’t agree with everything Carol Leigh (aka Scarlot Harlot) says, but she has been one of the most active and important fighters for the rights of whores since the 1970s and a vociferous opponent of the anti-sex “feminists” since their first appearance.  This book contains most of her writing, including an extensive insider’s overview of the sex worker rights movement in the ‘80s and ‘90s and essays on the harm done to women by the continued suppression of our profession.  Scarlot is a performance artist, and a lot of her teaching is accomplished by a combination of shock and humor in the “underground comedy” tradition.

Whores and Other Feminists by Jill Nagle (editor)

This is a collection of feminist essays by educated whores like Nina Hartley, Annie Sprinkle and Tracy Quan, interspersed with others from the rare sex-positive feminist academics who oppose the lies and puritanical censorship of the neofeminist majority.  As with so many other books I’ve reviewed, the negative reviews on Amazon, coming as they do from indoctrinated neofeminists and Christian fundamentalists, are some of the best advertising this book could have; they should be printed on the dust jacket along with the raves!

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