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CALL OF THE DAY: saying goodbye to Bilingual Papi

About two weeks ago I finally told Bilingual Papi that I was leaving. I had been dreading that conversation for months, but it wasn’t as awkward as I feared it would be. He didn’t blow up at me, or pester to give him exact details about where and why I was going. He just told me he would miss me, and said “well, I guess I’m going to be calling you a lot, then, these last few weeks.”

Afterward I found myself wishing he had exploded, because I was bracing for that. His simple, affectionate sadness felt like it was breaking my heart from the inside. I’m gonna miss him.

I suppose it’s partly because Bilingual Papi is such a contrast from most of the rest of my callers, whom I will not miss or even remember if I don’t pull their cards out from the box to remind myself. They will fade away into a vast undifferentiated mass of need, the appendages and attire changing, but the basic process and outcome remaining the same as it always ever was for phone sex: do this thing and make me come. Some of them even say as much: “make me come.”

I go back to what my character says in Phone Whore: “Some of my callers aren’t even paying attention. They’ve already got a magazine spread open or a DVD running. They just want to hear a live voice in their ear. I’m just a sex toy. You can tell by the way they hang up without saying goodbye, like you’d switch a vibrator off and throw it on the floor.”

That’s your average phone sex client, whereas Bilingual Papi pretty much is the opposite. He is a good example, in fact, for how a good phone sex client behaves, demonstrating good behavior and people skills on multiple fronts:

He brings the party. Not every client needs to bring the party; some of them specifically ask for the story, or they’re in a place where they can’t talk, or their role in the sexual dynamic or role-play demands silence. If I’m telling someone to suck on some dick, and don’t stop until I say so, then he better not be talking! But for the people who want to engage in a game of equals, this means putting something on the table. Reciprocity makes the experience richer for everyone. Bilingual Papi always brings something for the mutual feast, whether it’s a craving for a specific style of underwear or a theme for today because ¡Feliz Navidad! (Sung out loud in a mumble, because his dick is in my mouth.) Whatever he wants, he brings it to our calls.

He pays attention. He remembers roughly my birthday. If I tell him what general region I’m traveling to, he usually remembers that, too. I mean, he’s never asked me for my political opinion or what I’m fixing for dinner. But Bilingual Papi listens, and ever since I told him, on the first call, that I love learning phrases in Spanish, he offers up new ones and doesn’t get irritated when I ask him to repeat them.

He understands the system. Bilingual Papi has occasionally expressed a passing wish that we could play in person; when I told him that I was leaving, he was very open in expressing his sadness to see me go. But he has never pushed for any off-the-grid contact info, and when in the past our schedules haven’t matched up well, he doesn’t rebuke me or whine “why can’t I find you?” He instead says, “Looks like our schedules haven’t been matching up.” He holds no illusions about me being a service provider.

And yet…. I have always said that service providers can still get attached to our clients, even when all parties fully acknowledge the explicitly transactional nature of the relationship. Therapists can get attached to their patients. Waitresses can wonder what happened to their regulars, and be overjoyed to see them again after a long time. And apparently phone sex operators can feel sad about their faves when they leave the biz.

Apparently I’m not as tough as I thought.

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