The long goodbye: a PSO sabbatical and breaking it to “the guys”
It started up again about a month ago, when my boss seemed to have resigned herself to the fact that, once again, I was going on tour. She started getting on me about saying goodbye.
She doesn't care if i get closure or anything; it's not about that. She just doesn't want my regulars to freak out when I'm not around, because for these next four and a half months, I will not be around. Unlike North America, the UK is just not a place where I can feasibly do phone sex with my company; never mind the roaming charges, the time difference places my normal hours of availability right in the middle of prime performance time. And while I don't want to sound conceited, it feels as though my boss has ended up relying a lot on my presence over the last six years, even though my touring and performing and rehearsing have been the cause of a fair bit of scheduling unreliability over that time.
I feel guilty about it, every year, and then I remind myself that PSOs with children probably have a lot of instability in their lives too, and my creative work is my baby, and … well, I hope it will grow up some day soon and be a self-sustaining adult sort of child, right now it really depends on me to be there for it. A lot.
So, I told my boss three months ago that I was doing this, and she has kind of alternated between despair and anger since then, bargaining and denial... you know, the usual stages of grief. About a month ago she pulled through it into matter-of-factness, with a side of pissy: "I need you to start telling your guys." And you know what? It's actually a little weirder, and a little more difficult, than you might think, telling one's phone-sex regulars that one is going a way for a while.
One problem is that I don't always know what counts as a regular. Some guys might ask for me once every three months. Unless my boss tells me otherwise when she gives me the call, I'm assuming that he's just got me in rotation with a couple of other girls, and why would he even miss me? Hell, he might not even try to call me again until I'm back from my trip, so why tell him?
There are other callers who don't ask for me by name, but always pick me out of the line-up, as my boss is careful to tell me when she gives me the extra dollar for the call. She doesn't want me getting too big a head, I guess, thinking that all of these guys are actually requesting me, but oh yeah, when I'm getting ready to leave on tour, suddenly these guys are regulars and I need to break it to them gently.
(I don't even want to talk about the occasional really awesome caller who I get for the first time in the week or two before I leave. All of my closing and retention efforts suddenly make no sense. "It was wonderful playing with you! I hope we can talk again soon, well… um… in four and a half months!")
Even if I know that I need to tell a given caller that I'm going away soon, HOW to break that news to him can be a delicate, if not actually awkward affair. Not the guys who usually finish a minute or two before the end of their session, and we normally have time to cool down and chit-chat afterward. Those guys are easy. They're disappointed, which is always gratifying, but they understand "in scene" and "out of scene", and we have enough history with small talk that my important news doesn't feel too jarring.
But what about the callers who normally end the call by hanging up on me? The ones who don't include courtesy to their service provider as a matter of course, even though they use my services all the time? I mean, THEY HANG UP. Do I even owe them the courtesy of letting them know that I'm going to be away? Apparently yes, and I have to tell them at the BEGINNING of the call, because I know in advance that there is no time for talking at the end. They are calling in for seven minutes, max. Let me tell you, getting my goodbye in at the beginning of those seven minutes… I cannot imagine a bigger boner-killer, but there it is. I have to do it then, or it just won't happen.
Regardless of whether I'm talking to a five-minute special or Extreme Top, saying good bye to my regulars is awkward because I am forcing them face to face with the idea that I have something else in my life other than what we talk about on the phones, that there is something else I am pursuing, for weeks and months at a time. No other interaction I have with them punctures the bubble so thoroughly, that sexy bubble of "oh yeah, I'm waiting for you."
Sorry, honey, this time you're going to have to wait for ME.