Friday, June 18, 2004

Legend In His Own Mind

Ring ring!
Me: hello?
Caller: Is this Mistress Matisse?
Me: Yes it is.
Caller: I'm calling about your ad, but I'm not a submissive. My name (dramatic pause) is Master Ryker Blackstar.

Now I've met enough pompous twits in my time to know one when I hear one. "Master Ryker Blackstar", my ass. I live to stick pins in people like this.

Me: Are you calling to sell me long-distance service?
Caller: No!
Me: Oh, I'm so sorry, I must have misunderstood. What is it I can help you with?
Caller: I wanted to ask you some questions. How long have you been in business?
Me: Several years.
Caller: And who did you train under?

Who did I train under? Oh, give me a break. I'm really tempted to say something like, "Well, I worked with Ah-nuld on the weight training, but Jane Fonda advised me on my cardiovascular routine."

Me: Why are you asking me this?
Caller: Well, it's just that we've never heard of you.

We've never heard of you? Am I speaking to someone with Multiple Personality Disorder? Great. At least one of his personalities must have heard of me, though. Otherwise, how would he know to call me?

Me: Who is "we"?
Caller: A group of us…So, who trained you as Mistress?
Me: No one person trained me, I'd been in the community for years before I became a professional.
Caller: Ah. So you're not affiliated with anyone?

"Affiliated with anyone"? What am I, a fucking credit union or something? I have no idea where he's going with this.

Me: No – and again, why are you asking me these questions?
Caller: Well, as I said – we've just never heard of you.
Me: That's okay – I've never heard of you, either. I still don't understand why you called me. What is it that you want, exactly?
Caller: Do you give tours of your dungeon?
Me: No. (Not to people who annoy me, anyway.) Why do you want a tour of my dungeon?
Caller: We're just wondering what kind of facilities you have.
Me: Okay, who is this "we" you keep talking about?
Caller: There's a group of us.
Me: Yes, you said that already. Are you some kind of BDSM organization? Because if you're looking for a dungeon to rent for parties, I don't do that, sorry.
Caller: No, no, no. We're not that kind of BDSM organization. We have our own dungeon. You see, I am the head of a very private and selective BDSM house. It's called "The House Of Blackstar".

Oh, no. He's one of those "House of…" people. You run into this in the BDSM world occasionally. When someone says "I'm part of the House Of Joe Bob", what he means is he's part of a group of leather people who've declared themselves to be something like a family or a small clan. They may or may not actually live together, but they usually have a single authority figure –"Joe Bob", in this case - and they usually have some kind of formal structure and hierarchy. And they're usually a bunch of pretentious, self-important jackasses.
Not always, now, not always. I've meet some cool people who had a chosen leather family and who called themselves the "House of…" whatever. (And the fabulous "House Of Gord" people are great.)
But in this case, my sense is that it's sheer self-aggrandizing crap. I'm betting that "The House Of Blackstar" consists of Ryker – whose real name is probably Eugene – his pet iguana, Frodo, and several plump, shy, "cyber-submissive" girls who live in very small towns at least five hundred miles away from here. Call it a hunch.

Me: I'm going ask you one more time - what do you want from me?
Caller: Well, we'd have to check you out more thoroughly. But provided you meet with our standards, I'm prepared to offer you an affiliation with our house.
Me: No, thank you.
Caller: What? But –
Me: I don't want to be affiliated with anyone. So if that's all, then I'll say goodbye.
Caller: Wait a minute, I think you're making a mistake. The House of Blackstar is connected with some of the best Houses in the world.
Me: Really? Like, The White House?
Caller: (huffily) No, I mean some of the best secret European Houses!


Oh, God, no - not the "secret European Houses" thing. This is like the Loch Ness Monster of the BDSM community. The basic storyline of the fable goes something like this: There are secret "Story of O" type places in Europe where mysterious people train slaves in some brand of BDSM that's more pure and true than ours. Then they sell these slaves to other members of this secret society, where they have many erotic adventures. (Sounds just like a porn novel, doesn't it?) These houses have been in continuous existence since the late nineteenth century or even earlier, and lots of very famous and important people belong to these secret societies - as Masters and Mistresses. They can do that without fear of exposure, you see, because these houses/societies are very, very secret. Nobody knows about them.

Except, of course, all the pathological liars who claim to be connected with them in order to get laid and look important, and the people they tell their lies to. And, of course, folks like me, who tell other people what a flock of bullshit it is, and laugh at those who try to spin me this story. That all amounts to a pretty large group - so it's hard to imagine it's really much of a secret anymore.

So, just for the record: there ain't no such thing. There are plenty of very kinky people in Europe, there are some great events and organizations there, and I'm sure that there are people forming "Houses" of their own. But there are no ages-old secret European societies that keep and train slaves in some magical method of BDSM. Trust me, I'd know.

Caller: If we were affiliated, we could send you submissives for training. You see, I'm forming my own secret House here.

And he's calling up people he claims not to have heard of to tell them about this secret House of his. Hey, it's good that he's getting a head start on this – you don't want to be like the Europeans, they had to wait for a hundred years before people started talking about their secret Houses. This is what makes America great.

Me: No, I don't want to be affiliated with anyone.
Caller: I could really send you a lot of business.

Apparently it's going to be a rather large and busy secret House. Oy.

Me: No, I'm not interested, goodbye.
Click.
I hang up.

I wonder if Europeans talk about "the secret American BDSM Houses"?
I bet not…

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Update on the Bondage.com guys...

One of them, Guy # 1, has cold busted me. Even though the picture in the profile doesn't show my face - somehow he figured it out. He's being tactful and not saying "so, hey, you're Mistress Matisse, aren't you?" But he sent me an email dropping a lot of big hints. Dammit, I can't go anywhere in this town...

And frankly, this whole set-up feels weird. I spent all day - in between seeing clients and working out and running errands and so forth - asking myself: Why am I doing this? And I couldn't come up with an answer that satisfied me.

Because...I want to meet new people? No, actually, I like my current social circle and I already have several attractive options bookmarked, if you will, for a closer and more leisurely perusal.
Because...Having an anonymous affair would be exciting? Well, I've done that before, and it was amusing, but not hugely enjoyable. Plus, there's the fact I seem unable to be anonymous, at least within my dating pool. Gah.

So I think Guy #1 will be ever-so-politely cut loose. (Don't feel too sorry for him - he's got a very cute girlfriend already, so he won't be crying over me.)

Guy # 2...Well, I'm enjoying corresponding with him - he's a writer as well, so we have that in common. (As well as several close acquaintances, apparently.) I could see myself doing coffee or something with him. And maybe I could add him to The List and let things evolve slowly, as is my preference.

But you were all so extremely supportive and gave good advice, and so I thank you...I should be back to being entertaining again by tomorrow. Wait 'til you hear the story about the guy with the secret SM society...

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

So, now that I'm secondary-partner-less, I'm taking a moment to look around at my dating options. I've always liked this part – it's kind of like shopping.

I've never been a lust-at-first-sight kinda girl - you have to sink into me a little before I'll get hot for you. Thus, when I think about new partners, I tend to think about people I already know.

But it occurred to me, today, that I might at least consider the beautiful-stranger option. I mean, one doesn't want to get into a rut about these things. So, just for laughs, I went over to Bondage.com and flipped through the personals.

My first response was, "Thank God I already have a primary partner." Whoo - very scary. Paging the Fab Five, please – emergency! But even aside from cosmetic and grooming issues, most the people I looked at were just so not right for me.

As I was looking, though, I got several messages. The site has a feature where you can see who's logged in, and I was showing up on people's radar screens. I wasn't logged in as "Mistress Matisse", you understand. But just being a female on such sites is enough.

Some of them were about as bad as you'd expect – you know, all caps, terrible spelling, and with a definite one-handed-typing tone to them. But two of them were actually nicely written and polite, and so I replied.

And they replied, and I replied, and they seemed like cool guys. Wow, I thought, it's kinda nice to flirt with people who don't know me. You see, when you're a bit of a local celebrity, unencumbered flirtations are hard to come by. In my community, even if I don't know someone, chances are they've heard of me. That's flattering in some ways, but other times it bugs me, because it means that when I meet someone, they already have certain kinds of expectations about who I'll be and what I'll be like. Expectations, I might add, that are rarely accurate.

I'm not trying to sound like, Oh, poor me, it's so terrible - but it really skews the getting-to-know-you dynamic. This is why I tend to go with people who either a) have known me since long before I ever was "Mistress Matisse", or, b) have known me long enough for the ooo-that's-Mistress-Matisse factor to have completely worn off. Or, as in this case, I attempt to go with people who don't know me at all.

But as I swap another round of emails with Guy #1 and Guy#2, it starts to go downhill…

Guy#1 says: Oh, do you go to community events? Might we have crossed paths at the Wet Spot?

Guy #2 says: Hey, I know Rose Algren and...(names several other people, all of whom I know). Do you know them?

Damn. So much for anonymity. I always say: it's a small town if you're kinky.

I've dodged their questions for now – but what do you think, people? My choices are: I could lie about my identity and pretend I don't go anywhere or know anyone. Or I could just stop talking to them. Or I could 'fess up and hope for the best. Survey says: what?

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

So I did go see the Harry Potter movie this past weekend. It was good – not as good as the book, of course. Movies never are. But fun just the same.

And can I just say how turned on I am by Alan Rickman in the persona of Severus Snape? A cliché, I know, but there it is… Alan Rickman also played a sexy evil guy in the BDSM cult-classic Closetland – he's really got a knack for it. (Disclaimer: Closetland is not supposed to be an erotic film. But it is - oh my, it definitely is.)

Harry Potter is one of those cultural phenomenons that I resisted for years. Sometimes when something seems to be liked by nearly everyone, I figure it has to be schlock. I'm snobbish that way.

But when the third book came out and everyone I knew was talking about it, I succumbed to peer pressure and read the first one. And then I went and bought the other two books, and then the next, and the next. And I'm glad I did, because they're delightful.

A lot of writers like to slag JK Rowling, because they feel her writing isn't as pure as, say, Joseph Heller, or John Updike. To that I say: bullshit. The job of a popular fiction author is to entertain, and Ms. Rowling does her work admirably. You won't catch me carping about the degraded tastes of the public, to embrace an author who uses – oh, the horror! - too many adverbs!

Stories are like sex – if it feels good, it's working. I don't care if your method of literary cunnilingus has been given the Papa Hemingway Seal Of Approval – if it doesn't tickle me the right way, I'm not taking your book to bed with me.

So if anyone has links for some good "slash" porn fiction with Severus Snape, do let me know…I have a number of degraded tastes.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Phone Call with Miss K

"I don't know what I should do about this – and maybe I shouldn't do anything. But I just wanted to get your opinion about a call I just got from one of my clients."
"Okay," I said. "Fire away."
"Well," she said. "I posted on one of the escort-review boards. And this guy called me and was like, 'oh, I'm so glad I found your post, I saw you a long time ago and I'd lost your number'."
"Did you remember who he was?" I asked.
"Sort of vaguely. But that wasn't the weird part. Then he said, 'Yeah, I remembered where your apartment building was, but I couldn't remember which apartment you were in. So I was thinking about just coming over there and knocking on all the doors until I found you.' "
I sucked in my breath. "Are you kidding me? He said that?"
"Oh yeah."
"Oh my God."

What Miss K and I didn't have to say to each other was that this is a really, really bad idea. The fastest way to go from "he's a nice guy" to "he's a deranged stalker" in a working girl's mind is to show up at her place when you don't have an appointment. We're rather jumpy about that, and not without reason.

(Note: This doesn't include "sensual bodywork" establishments that usually employ several people and are set up to accommodate drop-in business. I'm talking about women who work independently.)

It's not just the "stalker" thing, either. Miss K does what's called incall service. That means you come to her - she has an apartment that's exclusively for her client rendezvous. Now, the prime directive of any working girl is: be discreet. Fly under the radar. And unlike the outcall ladies, who visit the client in his space, having a dedicated workspace means you're a fixed target. Thus, one strives to minimize anything that might make one's neighbors say, "Huh, that's funny. I wonder what she's doing in there…" That way lies disaster. Or at least a whole lot of hassle involving a moving van.
So the mere idea of this guy knocking on every door of an apartment building asking for her…Jeeee-sus. One would hope he'd have the brains not to say, "I'm looking for this call-girl I saw once…" But who the hell knows what he'd do?

"Wait," she said. "It gets better."
"Oh no. What?"
"Well, I told him that it was a good thing he hadn't done that because it would not have been cool. He didn't seem to get why not, so I said, 'What if I'd been with somebody else when you knocked on the door and interrupted us?'"
"That should have made sense to him."
"It didn't. He said, 'Hey, I would have just joined right in'."
I held the phone at arms length and let out a shriek of outrage. Then I put the phone back up to my ear. "No, he didn't say that. Tell me he didn't seriously say that."
"Yep."
"That is unbe-fucking-lievable."
"It's pretty amazing."
"'…I would have just joined right in'. That has got to be the most mind-blowingly dumbass thing I've heard in days."
"So, the question is; what should I do about it?"
I thought about it. "Do you feel like you've contained this one guy?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"But you're wondering if some other maroon might do the same thing?"
"Let's just say that, thanks to him, it's become a concern of mine."
"I think you could go back to the message board where you post and say something like, 'Dear gentlemen, I'm glad you like me, but please don't come wandering around in my building knocking on random doors and talking to my neighbors about me, and please don't just show up at my door and expect me to let you in.' I mean, say it nicely, but say it. Most of the guys are pretty smart and they'll be right there with that. And hopefully you can give a little tap with the clue stick to the rest of them."
"That sounds like a good idea. I'll probably wait a few days, and then I'll do something like that. Thanks a bunch."
"Anytime."
We hang up.
"'…I would have just joined right in'". I mutter to myself. "Fucking crazy man."