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SMUT STAND REPORT: July 16, 2015 (Manchester, UK)

WHEN: 3.5 hours (7-10:30pm), July 16, 2015. WHERE: On Thomas Street near Kelvin Street (across from Cane&Grain bar), the Northern Quarter, Manchester, UK. OUTPUT: two pieces of microsmut, three full-length pieces, and a photo op from a fellow American, a lovely gray-haired lady from New York who was cycling over to Liverpool the next day.

The last time I did Sidewalk Smut in Manchester, I had set up in Canal Street, Manchester's gaybourhood. That experience really rubbed me the wrong way; that little stretch of gay has been drawing raucous hen parties—and therefore groups of straight lads, too—for years, which means declining quality for both Mancunian gay men and for me. Hen parties make terrible customers, and lads just leer, so I was desperately seeking a spot in Manchester where I could actually make my Smut Stand work.

On the advice of a few Manchester friends, this year I checked out a part of the Northern Quarter, Manchester's … hipster borough? I dunno, that's what everyone said, and when I went to check out one specific street someone mentioned (Stevenson Square, and then wandered up Thomas Street), sure enough, there were plenty of beards and quirky hats and vintage dresses paired with converse sneakers and sidewalk cafe tables to go around. And yes, I actually did go out there the night before to check out the vibe, a luxury that I wish I always had. It was just too long of a haul on the bus and walking to drag the Smut Stand out to a spot, sight unseen.

On my scouting night, a Wednesday between 8:45 and 9:30, the stretch of street that I was eyeballing already had crowds spilling out of two different bars and onto the pavement, so I was concerned that it would devolve into a bad patch on the weekends, and determined to keep my hours early, something like 6 to 10pm. Unfortunately, the night I was taking my stand out, I just got a late start. I got out there closer to 7pm, and held my breath a little. I always get nervous trying out a new spot, always always always. The Smut Stand is such a weird little phenomenon, and while mostly the response is good, there's always a chance that a neighborhood will turn on me, that people in a city actually aren't that hip with it (hello, Cincinnati!), that bar patrons in that neighborhood will be terrible mean drunks (hello, Exeter!). I feel so vulnerable, sitting there and looking "normal", all the while keeping my eyes and ears peeled and just not knowing.

Well, the nerves faded after about 20 minutes, once I got my lipstick on and started typing. First customer I thought was going to be trouble; he was already kinda drunk, in that slow-blinking smiling sort of way, and his answers to my interview questions were… conflicting. Like, he said he was doing it to share with his girlfriend of 10 years, and therefore it should be more soft-core, but then he said "pain" when I asked "pain or no pain." I asked him then if he was into pain actually, and he thought for a moment and then shook his head with a guilty smile. Did the same thing with the public/private option, too, choosing what is normally the more hardcore option, and then confessing afterward that it wasn't something he had done before or was particularly interested in.

I got stern with the customer for a moment, took his money, and started thinking—like, I wasn't even sure that he had a girlfriend, maybe he just wanted a joke piece that he would share with his mates—but then he came back out of the bar with a lady, who waved at me and then came over and introduced herself as his girlfriend of 10 years—yes, I asked, for corroboration purposes—and filled in some of the holes in his interview for me. I had just finished with her intake interview when her boyfriend came running out of the bar. "I just wanted to tell you how happy I am, that you're right here, in my town," he said. What? I said. "Oh, I've read about you on Twitter, I've read all about you, I thought you looked familiar, and I just can't believe that you're right here, in front of me, doing a piece for me!" I tried to figure out exactly what he had read about me, and where; I thought maybe he had seen the thing on Reddit last fall, my picture that went semi-viral. I still don't know, but it's interesting to consider the paths of word of mouth.

I got to do a piece for one young man who actually came back in response to my text notification—this doesn't always happen—AND he gave me some great fem-domme-y preferences to work with. Fem-domme or male-sub options get so little play out here on the street, and the reverse, the more dominant male, is so common as to be a cliché; I don't know if it's because it's actually less common or because men are so socialized to be embarrassed about stuff like that, like, it's a negative mark against their masculinity. ANYWAY, got a chance to work with some of those themes.

OOOH, and my third commission was for customers who were on their FIRST DATE. People who do Sidewalk Smut on their first date are a special kind of brave, and this couple was no exception. They did tend to over-explain their answers, but I figured that was first-date nerves and more for each other's sake and not for mine, so I let them ramble. The guy was joking about reading their smut at the wedding reception. I couldn't tell how into that idea she was, but I did tell them to look me up on Facebook if everything, you know, worked out.

*******

I can only do the Smut Stand for 4-5 months a year. Help me keep the Cameryn Moore Sexytime Machine running smoothly year-round, and become a patron of mine over on Patreon!

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