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CALL OF THE DAY: this is not ageplay, so why do I feel like I’m in junior high again?

"no fucking way" is a write-in option

"no fucking way" is a write-in option

(Names used here are neither real names or phone names.)

He’s told me before that he wants to do a call with the dispatcher, “Becca,” who is also the owner of the company. There is no room for professional jealousy in this line of work—if he doesn’t stick with me down the road, I’ll find somebody else—so when a caller talks about wanting someone else, or wanting to do a call with the dispatcher, I just shrug. This guy, he’s mentioned it once or twice; he thinks Becca has a sexy voice, but he’s never pushed it, and he always seems super satisfied with my service.

But he asked me today, “Did Becca say anything about me before she passed the call along to you?”

No, I said, should she have?

“I wrote her a letter.”

Oh, I said. That seemed like the only thing I could say.

He rushed on, kind of tripping over himself, bashful and unsure. “I told her how much I liked her and her voice, and I told her what I would love to do for her some time. I hope she wasn’t offended. Do you think she was offended?”

No. I thought about the things he talks about, not just with me, but with a bunch of other girls on the service. He calls regularly. And “Becca” listens in on all kinds of calls. She has heard enough of his calls that she has a totally accurate nickname for him: “Stinky Jim.”

No, I said. I doubt she was offended. She’s been doing this for a long time.

“I wrote three pages,” said Stinky Jim, “but I wasn’t pushy about it.”

I’m sure you weren’t, I murmured. Over the phone, at least, Stinky Jim is the epitome of the Southern gentleman. But a three-page letter? About what he liked and why she would have a good time? You might guess, from his nickname, that his thing is Not A Common Thing, and you’d be right. Still, he’s never been one to feel bad or weird about his Not-Common Thing.

He continued, “I just really think I’d have a good time, and I think she would, too. But maybe she’s not into it.” His voice lilted up, making this more of a question.

I thought again about Stinky Jim’s special areas of interest, and had to bite my tongue to keep from saying: most people aren’t. Instead I opted for something less harsh. I don’t know, hon, she and I don’t really talk about that sort of thing.

“You think I did the right thing? I showed Wanda the letter before I sent it.” Wanda is supposedly the madam of the brothel that he goes to on a Sunday, where he supposedly gets to play around for cheap and/or free, because he likes to eat out the girls after they’ve been working all weekend. “Wanda said it was a good letter.”

I’m glad you showed someone the letter, I said. Those are hard letters to write.

“Really, Becca didn’t say anything?” Stinky Jim asked. “I mailed it three weeks ago.”

Oh, god, I thought. It was a Valentine’s Day proposition. At that point I started getting the feeling that he wanted me to ask her if she got his letter.

No, I said. I think she would have said something if she wanted to follow up with you about it. Did she sound different to you? Did she treat you differently?

“No,” he said.

Okay. Are you asking for my advice?

“Yes!” he said.

Well, I think you have to leave it in her court, and not ask her about it, and be willing to let it go. Same thing is true here, as it is out in real life. If you make your gesture, and someone doesn’t want it, it doesn’t help your case to pester them.

“You’re right,” he said reluctantly.

I’m sorry, I said. And I actually was, a little bit. Without knowing the context of his relationship to Becca, I felt a bit squicked on Becca’s behalf about the idea of getting a three-page letter detailing one of Stinky Jim’s fantasies. On the other hand, she obviously knows all about his stuff. She knows he will talk about it with whoever’s available.

So I was left with the same feeling about Stinky Jim and his unrequited lust, that I have about most of my phone clients in general: putting one’s desires into words can feel really scary. So, good on ya, Stinky Jim, for putting yourself forward. Not everyone can do it.

But I don't think Becca's gonna go for it.

*****

I put scary shit into words. This is what I do. If you like the way I do it, show me. Become a patron of mine on Patreon.

TERRIBLE SEX TIPS: 5 Things You’re Scared to Try in Bed—That Might Actually Blow Your Mind

It's like caning, but with  soft poly-fibers instead!

It's like caning, but with soft poly-fibers instead!

Scanning sex-tip articles for the problematic ones has taught me one important thing: I pay too much attention to the pictures.

The stock photo they use to illustrate this piece makes me think that PILLOW-FIGHTING is a less explored sex game and that it might be the new trend in sex. Speaking for myself, I am not scared to try pillow fighting in bed; I would be all over that shit! But no. Photo is fun, but unrelated.

I actually don’t mind the tips included herein, not much. And I appreciate the suggestion to take things that you already like and just ramp them up a bit. That seems like a smart way of going about it, instead of dropping thousands of dollars on a new latex wardrobe, say, or signing up for a weekend orgy when y’all are still shy holding hands down the street. Yes. Eminently sensible.

But I have deeper objections, like, is it just a coincidence that so many of these sex-tip articles recommend things that straight cis guys are supposed to want? And is the listicle format really suitable to downloading what can be some fairly complex proposals?

For example, “make a sex tape.” STOP. WAIT. Ask questions first! Whose phone is that is going to happen on? Will you delete the fuck out of it immediately after viewing? If not, where will that video reside? Will you show your faces? Celebrity marriages and sex tapes and divorce scandals are not just entertainment, people; they are morality plays for us to learn from, and the moral here is “sex tapes: proceed with caution.”

Or, suggests the writer, “play submissive” and get your Anastasia moves from 50 Shades of Grey, right down to biting your lip, har har, isn’t that silly? Yes, it's just silly enough that the writer has plausible deniability of actually suggesting COPY-AND-PASTING 50 SHADES OF GREY INTO YOUR SEX LIFE. Seriously, there are so many ways of playing submissive, so many games to play. The one in 50 Shades is the palest, shallowest portrayal of possibilities.

Also, how come these articles never talk about women being dominant? Ever? I don’t mean cowgirl, or putting your hand on the back of your partner’s head to show them where to go. I mean, someone on their knees in front of you and calling you My Queen or saying “yes, ma’am”. Not every woman wants to be submissive, and as long as we’re experimenting, turnabout is totally fair play.

“Watch porn.” This is offered as a ramp-up from watching The Bachelor. I hear Game of Thrones has got it going on, if you like the incest/rape/KILL KILL KILL thing. Are women really scared to try watching porn? DON’T BE SCARED, MY FRIENDS. There’s the off button, right there.

“Dirty voice messages.” Okay. This whole article is, I guess, a timely reminder that I am not the demographic. I AM NOT THE DEMOGRAPHIC. … Listen. Ladies. You will not die if you say dirty things right into your lover’s face. Sure, keep the voice message move as a buffer if you must. You can listen and listen and freak yourself out about the little click in your voice that you didn’t know you had, and record it over and over, and then send what you hope is the perfect version. But trust me, YOU WILL NOT DIE if you do it live.

“Use a vibrator together.”  Hahahahah, FUCK IT. You know who’s more likely to be scared of vibrators? Cis-dudes. Pitch that article to Maxim or Men’s Health, and work on the boys first.

*****

It's spring, when a young writer's thoughts turn lightly to love and sex-tip snark and theatre! Throw some money down and make this season's labours possible: become a patron of mine over at Patreon!

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and the commodification of kink (fuck, another rant)

 

If you want any of this in oxblood, it'll cost 10 times as much...

If you want any of this in oxblood, it'll cost 10 times as much...

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have some class issues.

As some writers have already noted, a big part of the draw of Fifty Shades of Grey is not the kink or sex, it's the bling. If you extract the narrative (not difficult) and the dialog (if only we could), the Fifty Shades movie is basically a video catalog for some of the posh things that enough cash can get you. (I mean, in addition to enhanced tracking capabilities and support staff who won't even blink at your order to tow and sell the car of the girl you're stalking.)

In both the movie and the book, the protagonist Ana—the blank-slate character against whom viewers/readers can easily project themselves—comes from a humbler background, not poor, just, you know, humbler. An everyday person. Her life B.C. (Before Christian) is in bright colors and jumbled chaos. It's your standard college bohemia, well, faux-hemia, because it's the movies and any realer will take you out of rom-com territory. But you know, Ana has to work at a hardware store. Wow. Much humble, so relate.

Christian, on the other hand, has the money. He has all the money, and he lavishes it on his monochrome, pristine cars and watches and wardrobe and apartment, and on his equally monochrome and oddly sterile Red Room (OF PAAAAAIN). Christian gushes wealth all over Ana, like, drips it on her in scene after scene of symbolic "money shots". If not the strongest factor for Fifty Shades' popularity, the millionaire porn aspect is definitely in the top three, because poor girl/rich man has been a solid weapon in the romance-writing arsenal since before Pride and Prejudice.

At the same time, everyday people don't really trust posh nobs, so showing Christian's money is a handy shortcut for putting him in the "Do Not Trust" category. Not that there are not many other red flags a-flying in this film—SO MANY RED FLAGS—but Christian's wealth and willingness to use it in pursuit of his "specialized interest" absolutely nail the stereotype to the highly polished mahogany table: very wealthy people are self-interested and amoral.

My knee-jerk socialist lizard brain says, "Well, duh," and we could certainly discuss how massive quantities of money that one didn't earn oneself could have a corrupting influence in one's life, but again we'd come back to the problematic equation that kink = corruption and WHY is this movie promoting that again? Anyway,  I'm more interested in other questions, like how Christian's kink isn't really challenging a goddamn thing. It's set dressing. Very little of that expensive shit hanging on the walls gets used, and anyway, Ana doesn't want it.

Unlike Christian, who supposedly needs his elite brand of BDSM to be satisfied, Ana doesn't need the expensive items. She's just folks, remember? She doesn't need leather restraints and a set of antique Japanese canes (well, that's how they're racked up in the film, fucking orientalist bullshit) and an elaborate drop-down support structure for standing/hanging bondage. She doesn't need any of that. She just wants to touch Christian without asking permission. And go out to a movie. And get sensually eaten out on a regular basis. You know, the "normal relationship" things. None of that posh pervy stuff, with all the gear.

The thing is, no one NEEDS all that gear. Sure, if you have the resources and find it fun, you prioritize it as part of the budget, but consumption of kink goods is higher up on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It just is. You can frequent Home Depot and the dollar store, NOT to stalk the love object of your dreams and aggressively buy suggestive items at them, but to actually stock up on playthings on the cheap because that's what poor pervs have to do. We repurpose wooden rulers and thrift-store belts and clothes pegs, because that's what you do.

But that approach doesn't sell product, and that is part of what Fifty Shades of Grey needs to do. It is an aspirational film, heavily tied to the look, the accoutrements of kink. The audience has plenty to strive for; here is kink as a sign of class. Not too much. Not too hard.

That's the great thing about a video catalog: you don't need to dig deep in order to shop around.

******

Sometimes I write about my callers; sometimes I write about cultural issues. If you like my take on sex—and all the other shit—you should think about becoming a patron of mine over on Patreon.

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