Saturday, January 15, 2005

Pick and Choose

Ring ring!

Me: hello?
Caller: Hi, Mistress Matisse? I'd like to come see you today.
Me: Hmmn. Have we met before?
Caller: No, but you come highly recommended.

This guy sounds quite young, and he's talking very quickly, emphasizing the key words ("today!" and "highly!") in an unnatural-sounding way that I associate with those hucksters you see doing the cookware demos at state fairs. It's not something that's going to work in his favor.

Me: Okay, well, I don't do same-day appointments. The first day I'd have available is Tuesday, and –
Caller: (interrupts) Oh, really? Damn. 'Cause I just got into town. Can you recommend anyone else?
Me: You could ask Mistress X.
Caller: Well, what I'm really into is foot fetish. And I heard you've got beautiful feet. So I'd really like to come see you.

Then why the hell ask me for a referral?

Me: As I said, it would be Tuesday. But we'd have to back up some, because I would need to talk to you a bit and make sure that you and I would be compatible before I actually booked an appointment with you.

I'm already about 90% sure this kid isn't for me. He's talking too fast and trying to rush me along, and I don't like that. But we'll give him another minute to change my mind, since I am rather fond of foot fetishists in general.

Caller: Like I said, you come highly recommended, I'd really like to see you.
Me: You said that before – who recommended me?
Caller: Just some people. They said you had beautiful feet – and a beautiful everything else, too, heh heh heh. I mean, I can start with your feet, but who knows what else might happen? Do you think you'll have any cancellations tonight?

Oh, very rude and very pushy. And that leering little snicker? Bad, bad, bad…

Me: You know what? This isn't going to work for me. I think you should try someone else.
Caller: But you were recommended to me!

Inigo Montoya's line from "The Princess Bride" comes to mind. "You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means." This caller seems to think that because someone told him he should see me, I should automatically want to see him. In fact, unless you're going to supply me with a name or some other information about how you heard about me, saying "You were recommended" is meaningless to me. And if you act like it's going to get you some kind of special treatment, it's worse than meaningless.
I'm also suspecting that this kid's got some kind of recreational drug thing going on – there's just a subtle tone and a rhythm to his conversation that sets off my "this person is high" alarm. Hence the somewhat agitated insistence that I see him, right now.

Me: No, sorry, this isn’t going to work. I think you should call someone else.
Caller: Well, why do you think you were so highly recommended?

I have no earthly idea what he means by this. It might be a rather petulant rhetorical question, or he might just be trying to keep me on the phone. But it doesn't matter, since we're just going to finish this up right now.

Me: Okay, have a nice day, goodbye.

Oh, I am so glad I don't have to deal with anyone I don't want to…

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

You Dirty…

People ask me, sometimes, "Aren't you ever nervous that someone will come into your dungeon and harm you?" I usually tell them that I'm quite careful – but that to live is to take risks, and I'm comfortable with mine.

However, I did have an encounter last week with an unpleasant character, and while I definitely think I got the best of the situation, it did make me a little jumpy for several days.

It began one afternoon when I went into my basement storage room. It's not anyplace one would linger - a cold, dark little room with a concrete floor. I often don't go in there for days at a time. I'd stepped into the room and picked up the item I wanted when I registered the thought: God, something smells funky in here...

And then, I sensed a presence where none should be. From the corner of my eye, I saw a dark shadow near the hot water tank – ugly, unwelcome, and quite alarming. I let out a sharp cry of surprise – one might even say that I screamed – and fled.

So quickly and so thoroughly did my animal instincts take over that I was almost to the second floor of my space before my rational brain was able to process what I'd seen and say: Matisse – calm down. It's not coming after you. It's dead. That's a dead rat.

It wasn't like I hadn't suspected that I might have a rodent roommate. Several weeks before, I'd found a garbage bag that had been…nibbled. I immediately called my landlord, who said he'd come over and check for holes in the exterior walls and such, and put out some poison.
"Poison? But don't they sometimes die in the walls and smell if you do that?"
"No, no," said my landlord. "They go outside looking for water and die there."
What do I know about pest control? Okay, fine. I dismissed the matter from my mind, and there were no further incidents. Until…this nasty thing.

I took several deep breaths and tried to slow my heartbeat. Clearly, it had to be gotten rid of. For one thing it smelled bad, and besides, I just could not walk peacefully around in my place, knowing that ugly gray corpse was down there.

Okay. Okay. I can do this. Really. I am a brave and rational person, I can pick up a dead rat and throw it away. Really I can.

I went hesitatingly downstairs again, and while still standing on the basement steps, peeked through the open door. Oh, god, there it is! Even though I knew what I was going to see, I let out a little eeek noise.

I ran back up a few steps and then stopped myself. Matisse, you're acting like an idiot. It's dead. That's why it stinks. It's not going to hurt you.

What if there's another one? The cowardly part of my brain asked.

Even if there is another, all your shrieking and running up and down the steps has certainly frightened him away. For gods sake, they aren't ninjas – he isn't going to come try to take revenge for his friend or anything.

I went and got a garbage bag and a thick rubber cleaning glove. C'mon, just go pick it up by the tail. It'll just take a second and then it's over. Just do it.

Again I got as far as peeking at it through the doorway before my stomach flip-flopped. No. No. I cannot go near that thing. No way.

I went back up a few steps, sat down, and had a stern talk with myself. Matisse, be reasonable. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. That rat is deader than Michael Jackson's musical career. It is not going to suddenly spring to life and jump on you. As John Cleese would say, it's rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. That is an ex-rat.

It was no use. I couldn't do it.

Once I accepted that I was irrationally terrified of touching a dead rodent, I considered my options. I could call Max. But he's not very close by…I'd hate to drag him all the way over here.
There's Roman – but again, I hate to interrupt him when I know he's so busy.
Landlord? Maybe. Go outside and die, my ass. But shit, I've got to do something soon, I've got a client coming over in…

My client! Oh, glory halleluiah – it's Blue Eyes. He'll do it. Oh, thank you god, I know he'll do it.

Now, I don't make a habit of asking my clients for help with my real-life problems. I want them to regard their time with me as an oasis, in which workaday world concerns will intrude as little as possible.

But this was a special situation – and Blue Eyes is definitely the white-knight kind of man who'd love to help me with it. He's a sweet, gentlemanly guy, mature enough to remember when this sort of gender-based division of labor was seen as perfectly appropriate. And he's a problem-solver by nature - I don't think I've ever expressed the slightest little difficulty that BE hasn't tried to fix for me. I mean, this is the guy who bought and installed three room-unit air conditioners last summer because I said I was hot.

Plus, I also feel close enough to him to ask him for a favor. Some guys – well, I just wouldn't feel okay asking them to do this for me. But BE and I have a connection.

I should wait until after the session, though. I don't want to ruin the mood. So I closed the storeroom door, sprayed air freshener heavily, and went to get dressed, trying not to jump nervously at every little shadow along the baseboards.

After we'd played, BE and I were in the sitting room, and as he stood up to leave, I laced my fingers together and said, "So, I have a favor to ask you…"

As I expected, he was happy to help. "Sure, sure, I can do it – do you have a plastic bag?" I handed it to him and led him to the storeroom.

"In there," I said, pointing without looking.

I heard him walk across the concrete floor and then stop. "Wow, he's a big one."

I gasped and clapped my hands over my ears. "Oh, Jesus, don't tell me that. Just get rid of him."

So BE made the bad thing go away, and for that, he shall always have a special place in my heart. I've had no further need for his assistance, thank god, and both Max and Roman have assured me that I could call on them if need be. But I'm crossing my fingers that I don't have any more unwelcome guests in the future.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A Shameless Marketing Moment, and a Political Message

Whoo-hoo! Guess what I got in the mail today? A book!
"Big deal, Matisse," you're thinking. "You get books in the mail all the time. You're single-handedly keeping the Amazon used book dealers in business."
Well, yes, that's true. But this is not just any book. This is MY book. The book that my writing is in. The sex blogger book!

I got two copies - and a nice check, too - from the fabulous editor, Maxim Jakubowski, who tells me that the book should be available in the UK by January 15th and here in the US by mid-February. I am extremely pleased.

And I want all of you to buy a copy. Yes, I know, you've already read the entries. But it's like this: buying smutty books isn't just about the literature, it's also a political act. Talking about transgressive sex is always risky, and especially so in the US these days. But money talks, too – loudly. If you want publishers to keep publishing sexy books, make it worth their while, and they'll ignore neo-con maunderings about morality, and what-about-the-children, and keep turning out books that are intended to be read by consenting adults.
And thus, all of us who write sexy stuff will be encouraged to continue entertaining and arousing you. I'm not getting royalties from this – all of us bloggers got our money on the front end, and I'm fine with that. But if you feel like you've gotten thirteen dollars and ninety-five cents worth of enjoyment from reading my blog – not to mention all the other great people who contributed – then buy a copy of the book, please. Think of it as an investment in my future writings, and in the writings of other sexy girls and boys.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I know I said something about writing about sex today, but I must have been crazy, since in I'm always deep in column-writing mode on Mondays and Tuesdays. That's why you usually get shorter entries those days. So, perhaps something about fucking later this week. For now, some links to amuse you...

Yet another perspective on this past weekend's adventures....

A kinky man I know recently asked me my thoughts on figging, and I can do no better than to say go read this. I love ginger root...

This isn't sexy - but god, it's just so fucking weird I had to post it. I'm wildly curious as to what precipitated this incident. Did this guy stop taking his meds, or has he not yet been properly prescribed to? "Carol-singing burglar accidentally shoots himself in leg."

And, finally, from the Sort-Of-Sweet, But-Highly-Unlikely-to-Happen folder, an email...

have a nice day miss my name is Fadi i really love and die to worship your facsinating feet and your high heels so if u have any trip to any country in middle east just pls send me an e-mail and your cell number then u will find me in front of your belle and sweety soles and shoes. my cell number is (deleted) your feet slave Fadi.
My "belle and sweety soles". That's got kind of a nice roll to it, doesn't it?

Hey, remember to go vote for me in the "Best of Blogs" Contest! You can vote once every day, now through the 17th!

Monday, January 10, 2005

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About My Weekend…

Author's note: after writing all this out, I realize it's sort of long and rambling, and I didn't even get to the part about me and Roman having sex. But rather than trying to edit this, I think we'll just write about that tomorrow…

Sometimes the most complicated part of being polyamorous isn't the emotions, it's the logistics. Who's going to be with who, and when, and how will they get there, and where shall we have dinner?
Such was the case on Saturday night. First off, let's identify the players. We have:

  • Me and Max

  • Roman and Mrs. Roman

  • a woman I'll call Milan

  • Another woman we'll call B, and her primary partner, a man.

  • Several weeks ago, Roman said to me, "Hey, B is going to be in town the weekend of the 8th and I think she and Mrs. Roman are going to have a date together. Any chance you and I could see each other that night?"

    "Sounds great to me - I'll check with Max," I said. Then I went home, and in a perfect example of poly-stars-in-alignment, Max said to me, "I have a date to play with Milan on the 8th, and I want her to stay overnight."

    I smiled lovingly at him and said that would be no problem whatsoever. So you're with me so far – Mrs. Roman has a date with B, I have a date with Roman, and Max has a date with Milan.

    Friday, Roman tells me that he and Mrs. Roman are having dinner with B and her primary partner on Saturday night. Neither of us found this odd – poly people almost always prefer that everyone they're involved with know everyone else in their erotic network, and Mrs. Roman and B's partner hadn't met yet.

    So the amenities would be observed, and then B and Mrs. Roman would peel off and have their date, and Roman and I would hook up. (B's primary partner was going to go do some Live Action Role Playing (LARP), which I think says a lot about the demographic of people who are likely to be having complex polyamory love-lives.)

    Roman went on to say that Mrs. Roman needed to have the car – so could I pick him up from dinner? Of course, I told him.

    Saturday rolled around and Max and I were busy all afternoon – so busy, that we didn't have time to have dinner before it was time for me to pick up Roman.

    "Well," I said, "he'll have just eaten, but I guess we'll go out somewhere and he'll watch me have dinner." Max agreed, and then it occured to me, "Honey, what are you going to do about dinner? Milan isn't coming til later, right? Do you want to eat with Roman and me?"

    After I said it, I thought; God, if you drew all this out on a chalkboard, it would look like one of those diagrams of a football play. And it would sound like a French farce. But Max agreed that yes, he'd like to do a quick dinner, so off we went.

    To recap: Roman has first had dinner with his primary partner, her date for the evening, and her date's primary partner. Now he's going to sit with me (his secondary partner) and Max (his secondary's primary) while we have dinner. Anyone who thinks poly is all about carefree fucking should ponder whether they'd be able to remain relaxed and cheerful through such multi-layered social encounters.

    Max and I went and said hi to Mrs. Roman and B - although B's primary had already left - collected Roman, went across the street to a different restaurant, and had a pleasant dinner, tinged with only the slightest sense of how surreal this all might seem to a non-poly person. Roman quizzed Max about his plans for his date with Milan – oh, and did I mention that Roman and Milan have played with each other, too? It's small town for kinksters.

    Max finished eating, and then glanced at his watch and stood up. "Time for me to go. Oh, and call me and tell me if you two are going to sleep in the spare room tonight, okay?"

    Because that was the other issue on the table – where were Roman and I going to sleep? He and Mrs. Roman have only one bedroom, which was going to be occupied by her and B.

    Max and I, on the other hand, have a big house with a nice spare bedroom, and the general policy is that whoever has a sleep-over guest sleeps in the guest room, leaving the master bedroom to the other person. (I suppose that technically, Max knew he had a date before I knew I had a date, so perhaps that might land him with the spare bedroom and me with the master. But the master bedroom has certain…equipment…that Max wanted to use, so I ceded it to him.)

    However, choices of bedrooms aside, we were both feeling a little uncertain about the situation, because while Max has slept with Maura in the guest room any number of times when I've been home, Roman and I had never slept together with Max in the house. He'd always been over at Maura's when Roman stayed overnight. Max had told me over and over that it was fine. But I still hadn't quite gotten comfortable with the idea – clearly some baggage from my previous jealous partners that I hadn’t quite let go of.

    Roman and I knew we could stay over at my studio. But while it’s great for playing, it's not so great for sleeping, and so we decided to take the spare room.
    "Oh, I can't wait to bump into Max in the hallway in the morning," said Roman. "Or Milan, for that matter."
    "I know – it’s sort of bizarre, isn't it? But I need to get over my hang-up about it, because I like sleeping with you, and it's not fair to try to get Max to go to Maura's place every time."
    "Especially when he's having a date with Milan."
    "Yeah, that does make it particularly awkward."

    Fast-forward to 4:30 am. Roman and I were walking quietly up the stairs. The door to the master bedroom was slightly ajar, but the lights were all off, and everything was silent. I felt like a kid sneaking her boyfriend past her parent's room. Silly, when one considered that Max is in there with someone, too. But still… And even though we'd already had a long night of it, once Roman and I were in the spare bedroom, we couldn't resist the temptation to engage in some muffled, furtive fucking, giggling like teenagers.

    We woke up later that morning to the sound of footsteps in the hallway outside. "Max is taking her out to breakfast," I whispered to Roman. "As soon as they leave, the coast is clear."
    "God, this is such a French bedroom farce," he replied.
    After some lingering in bed, we finally decided to get up, too, and we had some coffee going before Max and Milan returned home. In spite of all of my slightly-joking angst about it, the four of us wound up talking together quite comfortably, comparing notes (and bruises). Soon, Mrs. Roman arrived to pick up her husband and we got a quick thumbnail of her date, too. After a nice chat, everyone hugged each other and the party broke up. As we watched our friends walk away from the house, I turned to Max and said, "I sure love you."
    He kissed me. "I love you too. And I'm glad you had fun."

    What an amazingly complex and satisfying life.

    Sunday, January 09, 2005

    Just a teaser for tomorrow's post - there was a whole lot of kinkiness going on in Seattle last night, and the complex schedules and configurations of primary partners, secondary partners and play-partners reads like one of those math problems that starts out, "If a train is leaving Chicago at 11am, and another train is leaving New York at 12:30 pm..."

    But we made it work out - very nicely, in fact. So we'll talk about poly, BDSM, and French bedroom farces tomorrow...