Thursday, May 20, 2010

A new column in The Stranger, which poses (and, to some degree, answers) the question: so what are all the freshly unemployed strippers in Seattle going to do for a living now?

My sincere thanks to all the ladies who responded to my plea and spent some of their very valuable time telling me about their future plans. I only wish that I had enough space to put all of your answers in the column. It was wonderful to hear from you, and I wish all you the best of luck in your fresh new endeavors.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Letters To The Mistress

(Edited for length, and for identifying details)
Hello Mistress Matisse,

I recently attempted to make a foray into the sex work industry and f-ed it up royally.

A little background: I come from a very conservative family. I went to Catholic schools my whole life, graduated from the U of Deleted (where my father works), and then moved to X City for work. Currently, I'm 26, working a regular full-time job, working on my master's degree part-time, and I just got hit with an expense (school-related) and need some cash. So I contacted a local dungeon about working as a pro-sub. I e-mailed them some photos (you can see my face in two of them, which becomes important later), my bio text, and they put me up on the site. A couple of days later, I received the following e-mail (in my alumni email account, which means that whoever sent the message has access to the alumni directory, and therefore is faculty, staff, student, or alum.)

Aren't you Bill's daughter? I recognized at the website. You have really grown up, I have not seen you in many years. Will give you a call when I'm in X City.
Mr. Brown
Creepy, right? I have no idea who “Mr. Brown” is. So I contacted the Mistress to fill her in and asked if I could please submit headless photos and change my pro name (which was close to my real name). She gave the OK, and the site was altered. Then I wrote Mr. Brown back and simply said:

I'm sorry, I'm afraid I don't recognize your name. With whom am I speaking?

A few days went by with no response, so I calmed down a bit. And then I received this earlier today:

Hello Jane (or is it Mistress Jane now?)
So it is you. I am an old friend of your parents. Of course this is not my name but you will recognize my face. I will let your parents know they have a good girl :)
See you soon.
Mr. Brown

Creepier and creepier. I had chalked the initial message up to dirty old man-nes, but this makes me uncomfortable, and I now worry that he might try to blackmail me. I suppose that if he does, I'll just have to come clean to my parents (which would pretty much be the end of the world, and I’d *definitely* prefer to avoid that).

Do you by any chance have any suggestions on dealing with this guy? I have no idea if he has screen shots of the original images on the site or not. (But I suppose he could lie about that, anyway.) And even if I meet him, I'm afforded no safety, because he could still send my parents information anonymously, and it would be my word against his. Gah. What kills me is that I haven’t even started yet -- this is my first day 'on-call.' Jesus.


Something about this letter sets off my bullshit detector. I have no idea why people make up odd situations and send me letters asking for advice about them. But they do, and there's something about this letter that seems phony to me.

It's too urban-legendy, for one thing. Too classic-cautionary-tale. "See here, Nice Catholic Girls, if you so much as put one little toe into the waters of sex work, your parents will find out instantly and it will be the End Of The World!"

But let's allow for the possibility that the writer of this letter is on the level. Some jerk-off is messing with her head. But blackmail? No. How exactly would such a person tell her family anything without revealing himself? "Hi Bill, long time no see! Listen, somehow I just happened to be on this pro domme site recently - I have no idea how I got there, really - and I saw pictures of your daughter, and ect..." Yeah, right. That's gonna fly real well.

Hell, if he's employed by the university, and using that email system to make sexual overtures towards women, she could probably blackmail him. Not that I endorse such a thing, because I think that's reprehensible. But most men who've gotten anywhere in life have something to lose in a game like this, and they know it. They do not want to start outing or blackmailing people, not at all. They are more likely to run in the other direction from a woman who'd be able to identify them.

Thus, I doubt this guy is who he says he is, and I doubt that he's going to do anything. In this age of Facebook, it would not be hard to come up with someone's hometown, parent's names, ect, and use it to jerk some girl's chain. If she just started sex work, I doubt she has all that info locked down. Someone with way too much time on his hands pulled some stray bit of data from the domme site - or else he knows someone who works there, who let it slip in conversation. He cross-referenced it with social networking sites, and bingo, instant harassment material.

That would be extremely unusual, but it is possible. I think the more likely answer is that this scenario is either partly or wholly fabricated. In my personal experience, I know of exactly one woman who was outed to her family by a stranger/would-be client. It's very rare. When people get outed, it's usually by another family member, or an aggrieved ex. In fact, if this story is completely factual, then it's probably some ex-boyfriend of the writer doing a bit of cyberstalking.

But the chances of someone being identified by a mysterious old family friend, who taunts and threatens them with exposure, within mere days of posting a photo on a relatively obscure site? (As in: not like Craigslist or some such place.) Them's some real long odds, in my vast experience. It just smells wrong to me.

Also: there are not that many pro domme houses around, and a lot of people who want jobs at them. A lot. That this person says she got taken on by one sight-unseen, with no personal connections, is fishy. So there's something hinky about this part of the story, too.

Perhaps I'm being too skeptical. So if the writer of this letter is real, here's my advice. Do nothing and say nothing. Don't respond to any further communication from this person, ever, no matter what he says. If your parents say anything, act astonished, cry, and deny everything. Say this weirdo has been pestering you with his sick sexual fantasies, and that you've been too frightened to say anything. Those pictures? Those are Photoshopped. They aren't of you. Deny it and keep on denying it, steadfastly. He has nothing tangible, after all, and your parents would much rather believe you than him.

And then read The Gift Of Fear.

All the other women reading this: this situation, if true, is the sex work equivalent of getting hit by debris from space that's re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. There are good reasons for some people not to do sex work, but this story isn't one of them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

For those who want to see me soon, some schedule updates…

I’m in town this week until Thursday, although my time is filling up. In general, it’s best to book time with me at least two or three days in advance. It’s always okay to ask me for last-minutes dates - but it’s usually not easy to get them!

I’m out of town from Friday the 21st until Monday the 24th.

And that is the end of the really crazy travel schedule I've been on for the last two months. It's been great fun, but I'll be glad not to be on any planes for a bit.

I expect I’ll do a few little getaways here and there, and naturally I’ll be as busy as I normally am. But I plan to be mostly in Seattle for the next couple of months. Which I like.