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Why even other sex workers “don’t know any phone sex operators”

I am staying two nights in London, before I head up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to present 25 nights in a row of Phone Whore. A London stay could be expensive, but my UK tour sponsors, the Sex Worker Open University, found me a billet at a "working" apartment, a place that an escort is using during the day for appointments. This means that I have to spend large swathes of the day out in cafés looking for internet access, but I'd be doing that anyway, so...

This is one example of that rare species, Phonus Coitus Operativa...

This is one example of that rare species, Phonus Coitus Operativa...

So, I was chatting with my host last night about my performances and my decision to not go independent with phone sex because it would interfere with my writing and touring, and then she told me about her photography work and how she'd love to maybe photograph me sometime. One of her projects is portraits of other sex workers, and, she said, "I don't know any phone sex operators."

This is something I hear often from ... Muggles? squares? the mainstream?... let's just say non-sex workers. I didn't expect to hear it from a politically active, well-networked escort. But it makes sense. In fact, I started knowing this way back when I first started, that most phone-sex operators—that is to say, PSOs who only do phone work, and don't combine it with face-to-face work—aren't particularly visible in sex-work politics, or indeed anywhere.

We don't need to be. After all, phone sex is one of the most anonymous and safe forms of sex work. It is legal in most states and countries, and it's relatively easy to hide from people who aren't sharing a wall with your work space; let's call it "customer service" or "call center work". Safety, anonymity... if you've got something to lose, why risk it by going public?

I certainly struggled with this when I first started. I had serious roommate woes for the first six months after I started—the sex noise was a real problem for wooden floors with gaps between the planks—and when my case worker for food stamps pressed me for details about my new job, I blushed and had to whisper.

But when I started doing Phone Whore, that all went by the wayside. I had to talk about my work, often and openly, and in conjunction with my picture, too. So I did, I learned how. I dove into writings by other sex workers, online and in $pread magazine, observing how people talked about what they did. And then, bolstered by the support of my existing friend network, I went forth and made new friends, not hiding what I did that made it difficult for me to go out and visit people, that made it SO MUCH EASIER to come visit me. I'm a born activist, so speaking up in public—about my job, and about the fact that I do consider it sex work—became a lot more natural for me, the more I did it.

Now I have reached the point where I tell border agents. THIS IS NOT HARD FOR ME. They may look at me funny, and occasionally smirk, but again, phone sex is legal, so what do I have to lose? I've disclosed countless times crossing the US-Canadian border, in both directions, and now the UK boys got it, too, when I was detained at Heathrow for six hours yesterday. They basically got my pitch: I'm here to perform my solo show Phone Whore, which is based on my work as a phone sex operator. Yes, that's how I make my money in the States.

If people have never met a phone sex operator, it will not be my fault.

*********

If you liked this post, be sure to browse around some more. I’ve been blogging about my work in phone sex for almost four years, since six months after I started in April 2009. And if you live in the UK, you’ll have a chance this year to hang out with me while I’m on call! Okay, not really, but that’s what my award-winning solo play Phone Whore feels like, and I’m bringing it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Aug. 1-25, and then to five other UK cities through mid-September. Follow those links to read all about the tour and my show, and if you do make it out, come up and say hi!

CALL OF THE DAY: coitus interruptus, phone-sex style

Please, for the love of God, can I just get one mouthful of this in my face?

Please, for the love of God, can I just get one mouthful of this in my face?

It had been shaping up to be a really nice weekday brunch: bacon, toast, omelet made with Parmesan cheese and garlicky sautéed veggies left over from last night's pasta Alfredo. Definitely the first nice, truly home-cooked meal I had attempted at my new billet, so I should not have been surprised when the phone rang right as I was folding over the finished omelet. (Murphy's Law and Cameryn's Phone-Sex Corollaries.) "Divvy all of that up," I directed my brunch buddy with a sigh, "and then can you take it out to the balcony?" And then I rushed off to the bedroom and my notebook.

It was a 15-minute call, a regular whose calls I don't really like because he only pretends to let me choose scenarios (I know all the ones he likes, in the limited sphere of mommy-daughter ass play), and then after 30 seconds he is back on the steering wheel and veering a hard right, back to whichever scenario he actually wanted that day. He's very nice about it, but still. Grmph.

What is worse—and what I forgot until the first time it happened today—is that he has SHITTY cell phone reception, and it inevitably cuts out two or three times during a 15-minute call. Either that, or he is in an insecure work environment, and totally delusional about exactly how much uninterrupted wanking he can get away with during work hours in an unlockable work space, and so he has to hang up and act nonchalant a few times per call. Either way, it's profoundly irritating and very, very challenging to work with, right? Every time he stops the call, we lose momentum.

So his call interrupts the plating of the brunch, I'm like, okay, fine, I''m fine, and the food might still be fine. But his service drops, sudden silence on the phone after four minutes. I call in per the protocol of my company, let them know his call ran short and why. I don't know when he's going to try to call back, but I take the phone on the balcony, where the plate is still pretty warm. A bite of bacon, that's all, just a little nibble of salted pork product, and the phone rings again. He's back. I tell my friend to go ahead and start eating, and stalk back to the bedroom.

My caller is apologetic in an unspecified way, so that I remain unclear about why his call dropped so abruptly. Okay, we have 10.5 minutes left, I can teach my nubile teenage daughter how to properly rim my ass in that time, oh, yeah, that's right, honey, you're going to learn to get excited ONLY by mommy's asshole, yes, baby, ye..... wait a minute. The silence is back. He's gone again. FUCK.

I call back in to let the dispatcher know that the caller dropped off again. He has 3.5 minutes left. That is NOT enough time to do a good ass-play scene. "We'll see if he calls back," she says. I don't think he will, but of course I keep the phone with me and go out onto the balcony again. My friend has Hoovered up his brunch—he jokingly calls himself Vlad the Inhaler—while my share remains there, pristine, untouched... congealing.

Phone sex is fuckin' HELL on domesticity, man.

CALL OF THE DAY: people who live in glass houses…

How about on the coffee table? "No, it's glass, too."

How about on the coffee table? "No, it's glass, too."

I rarely have a good sense of the caller's location, their surroundings. Bed, chair, in the bathroom leaning over the sink... that much I get, but I don't really know how they live or who they live with, usually. If they're always super whispery and quiet, I guess I can figure out that there's a wife or roommate or coworker somewhere nearby. But other than that, I don't usually know.

This guy, though, he told me. He's one of my longest-term regulars to date, and we talk. He keeps a basement office—he frequently travels for business, though—and lives with his wife and two teenage daughters. Because it is an unfinished basement, with no doors and, I guess, a pretty open floor plan, he can only do calls with me when he knows for a certainty all "the ladies" are going to be out of the house. With two teenagers, those times are not nearly as frequently as he would like.

This week, though... THE LADIES ARE ALL GONE, to the Bahamas or somewhere tropical. His wife and daughters flew off for vacation, leaving him alone in the house for the past 10 days and for the next three, so he has already called twice and says he will call again before they get back.

Yesterday I started out the call asking him a little more about the house layout, and asking him where exactly he could do me. Since he has the run of the house, I further suggested that he actually relocate his bare ass to one of those places, in order to, you know, get more into the scene.

In the living room?

"No, there are floor-to-ceiling windows."

What about up on the countertop in the kitchen?

"Floor-to-ceiling windows."

Um, okay, how about over the dining room table? Wait, let me guess...

Yep, floor-to-ceiling windows. "I don't want the UPS guy to come up to the door and see me writhing around naked."

I bet that's not the worst thing they've seen.

He laughs. "Yeah, well..."

So I say, well, let's pretend that we're in a different location. He chooses the largest sofa in the living room; he likes his sex romantic, but a little bit acrobatic, so that makes sense.

There are four sofas in that room, apparently, which tells me that he lives in a pretty fucking big house. I am starting to put together the architect's rendering in my mind: something big and modern, set on a large lot, but not removed enough from the road, at least from the front, that people can't see in in passing. It's angular on the outside, lots of glass. Obviously if you've got something like that, you don't want to destroy the look with, say, floor-to-ceiling fucking VERTICAL BLINDS or whatever.

I feel that a good pun could be made about glass houses at this point, but mostly I'm just a little sad. No privacy from the outside, no privacy on the inside, only able to call from a basement that probably smells a little bit, you know, basement-y and dank, on a chair that's down there because it doesn't fit in the decor upstairs...

I like it better when he calls me from his hotel.

ASK A PHONE WHORE: “what is a misconception people have about your job?”

ASK A PHONE WHORE is a semi-regular feature, appearing whenever I get a good question. Anything you want to know about my phone work, ask away! Make sure to read through the archives here to see if I've already addressed your question in a previous post, or to see if I've written about something already and you have follow-up questions. I may set up a separate page here to solicit questions, or maybe just put a widget up, but for now I'll be running my mail bag over on Facebook.

First of all, I don't have any clothes that require ironing...

First of all, I don't have any clothes that require ironing...

Q. What is a misconception people have about your job?

Oh, god. I'm going to do a Top-5 list, and maybe later I'll tackle each one in a separate post, because there are so many it's tough to know where to start.

These misconceptions have spread pretty freely, owing to how phone sex operators and the work that we do are depicted in popular culture: films, TV, music videos, etc. And they aren't easily stopped because not a lot of phone sex operators talk about the work publicly. Phone sex is the most anonymous of jobs in the general category of sex work, which means that we can choose to not talk about it if we want to.

I choose to talk about it. Lucky you.

Before I go into the list, though, I want to point out that the real problem with misconceptions and stereotypes is not that they aren't true. Because they often are, for some PSOs. The problem is that they are taken for truth, for all PSOs everywhere.

So here is my Top-5 list of Misconceptions People Have About Professional Phone Sex.

5) We do other things while talking on the phone. I pretty thoroughly discussed this here. This is me and the way my mind works or doesn't work. I am sure there are other PSOs who can multitask, but I can't. (This also doesn't include the category of calls where the client wants the operator to be doing other things and ignoring them. It's a kind of low-impact humiliation thing, I think.)

4) We get off while doing calls. I am sure that some PSOs do, but I do not. I just can't  keep track of my own turn-on and the callers at the same time (see above). And really, I can count on three fingers the callers I've had whose phone presence and fantasies mesh and/or intersect with mine enough to get me off.

3) We can take our calls anywhere. In the awful movie Valentine's Day, the phone-sex-operator character gets into laugh-a-minute hijinks because she keeps getting calls at awkward moments, in awkward places. Once, when I was talking about how touring cuts down on my availability, a fellow operator asked why I didn't take calls while I was driving. To which I answered, I can't multitask like that (see above). I think that for some independent operators, the ones who specialize in long-format domination or Girlfrend Experience calls, the talking-while-driving could be an option. But for me, not. As far as taking the calls anywhere, I would never want to run the risk of inflicting my side of the conversation on an unsuspecting eavesdropper. You've read my Call of the Day posts, right?

2) We are too ugly and/or fat to do in-person sex work. Ugly is a relative term, and I know plenty of fatties who do, in fact, do in-person sex work. While phone sex, like any phone-based work, is a good place for women with great voices and bodies that don't fit into conventional notions of attractiveness, we cover the entire range of body types. And who cares what the person on the other end looks like, anyway? It's a voice and a fantasy.

1) We wear pajamas all day. Okay, I do that. But I know other PSOs who shower and get dressed and sit down at their desks in their separate phone-sex offices, and take lunch breaks, the works. These operators tend to be the ones with more control over their work flow, that is, they are independents or working for a combination company, where they need to be putting out blog posts or do podcasts or troll chat rooms to boost their call volume, so they've got tasks other than waiting for the phone to ring. They've set up their work environment to support that level of productivity, in a way that works for them.

Me? I figure I can just as easily write this post in my kitty pajama bottoms and thin t-shirt and no bra.

********

If you liked this post, be sure to browse around some more. I’ve been blogging about my work in phone sex for almost four years, since six months after I started in April 2009. And if you live in the UK, you’ll have a chance this year to hang out with me while I’m on call! Okay, not really, but that’s what my award-winning solo play Phone Whore feels like, and I’m bringing it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Aug. 1-25, and then to five other UK cities through mid-September. Follow those links to read all about the tour and my show, and if you do make it out, come up and say hi!

CALL OF THE DAY: “Who’s a bad man? You are!”

I bet your dick is getting as hard as the steel toe in a cop's boot, isn't it?

I bet your dick is getting as hard as the steel toe in a cop's boot, isn't it?

"He likes to talk about young girls, and he wants you to tell him that he's a bad man."

That's all the dispatcher gave me. The first part I understand; I get pedo calls all the time. The second part I... I've never had a caller specifically have it, in his notes, that he wants to be told that he's a bad man. Sissy faggot, yes. Panty sniffer, yes. Bad man, no. That's simultaneously a very vague insult and a very specific target.

When we get on the phone, I start with the standard option: would you like to hear a little about me or tell me about yourself? He goes straight for the good stuff: He's got a girl there in front of him, and she's pretty out of it.

Oh, right, that's my cue!

I start to put on a concerned tone, shading to outraged, asking the questions that he obviously wants me to ask—what do you mean she's out of it? What did you do to her? How old is she? She's WHAT?—since he is not volunteering the information on his own. When I find out she's 11, I find myself in a strange place. How many different synonyms can I get for "bad man" that aren't complimentary in my head? "Sick fuck", "dirty perv", "twisted bastard"... these are practically terms of endearment amongst some of my friends.

To get in the right head space, I have to get into the minds of the people who think what I do in phone sex is appalling and wrong. I have to pretend, for the duration of this call, that I do NOT in fact understand the difference between fantasy and real life, that I honestly think he is doing terrible things to a real 11-year-old. It is really hard for me to reach back to that state of naivete, and everything I say sounds ... weird and unconvincing.

Finally, at about five minutes in, he says, "What could you do about it ?"

Shit, that's another cue, and I don't understand what it means. I could... take her place?

"You could, but what else?"

I could ... push you out of the way?

"What if you called someone?"

Oh! ... I mean, YES I COULD REPORT YOU TO THE AUTHORITIES, bad man that you are, and they would kick the door in and drag you outside with your dick hanging out, and everyone in the neighborhood will know!

That's the sort of thing that I tell him, over the next two minutes: what a bad man he is, and I am totally calling the cops right now, and oh my god, they are going to kick his door in and find him right there, with his dick firmly planted in some pre-teen pussy, no mercy, you are going to get busted for sure, I am going to call the cops right now, and dude, you are totally going to get what's coming to you. It still feels really fake, but now I have the authorities on my side!

I guess it's an acceptable fakery, though; like, he buys it. After he comes, he says to me, "I just want to make sure that you understand that this isn't real. I just need to hear that stuff to get off."

(A-DOY.) Oh, I know. This is the sort of thing that phone sex was built for!

"No, no, no, I understand. It's just... if someone were to hear this without knowing the truth, they might actually call the police."

No, baby, don't worry. I get it. I'm just acting shocked and offended.

That, my friends, was a weird line to dance along.

********

If you liked this post, be sure to browse around some more. I’ve been blogging about my work in phone sex for almost four years, since six months after I started in April 2009. And if you live in the UK, you’ll have a chance this year to hang out with me while I’m on call! Okay, not really, but that’s what my award-winning solo play Phone Whore feels like, and I’m bringing it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Aug. 1-25, and then to five other UK cities through mid-September. Follow those links to read all about the tour and my show, and if you do make it out, come up and say hi!

CALL OF THE DAY: “I feel like I really know you”

"We've talked a lot," he says. "I feel like I really know you."

I murmur something sexy but noncommittal while I look idly at his card. First of all, there's just the one card. Considering his first call to me was nearly four years ago, that means that we actually haven't talked that much. My real regulars have three, four, five cards clipped together now. He's just got the one.

And his calling pattern doesn't suggest a whole lot of connection either: seven-minute calls every month or so, followed by a 14-month break, followed another string of sporadic calls, none of them requests until about a month and a half ago, when suddenly he's doing 15-, 20-, 30-minute calls every week to 10 days, and doubling up. Today we did three calls in a row, totaling 75 minutes.

I guess to him it feels like he really knows me. To me, it feels like maybe someone isn't getting proper attention in his love life. I DON'T MEAN the sex isn't working. By his accounts, the sex is stellar. It feels like the pillow talk is lacking, because that's what he's looking for with me. I don't even mean sexy pillow talk, I mean just... talk! He wants to talk so much, and hear me talk, that he keeps running out of time without getting to sex and then calling back for another session. And he's telling me a lot, more than is usual for a caller, even with the longer time blocks.

In the middle of all this reveal, I suddenly flash to scenes in every movie I've ever seen that has phone sex in it, where the caller and the PSO are suddenly making this "real connection", you know, each one of them is hanging out all awkwardly on their own bed, and the camera is flipping back and forth between the two of them just, you know, Being Real, and they're talking about non-sex things, like, arguing about some obscure movie director, and it's Real!

Oh, and it also happens to show that the PSO is a Real, Deeper Person, she's smart and all, too, so props to whoever came up with that fucking set-up, it kinda kills two birds with one stone, right there, in terms of plot development. Three birds with one stone, really, because this magic moment of Being Real is also when you know the relationship is going to somehow be consummated face to face... and I wonder if that's what this caller thinks is going on here. I wonder if he is thinking about, oh, you know, "free and easy" non-sexual conversation in a paid sexual encounter being evidence that it's a deeper connection, it must be, he's a Real, Deeper Person, too, he's obviously not shallow, because he's paying for all of this not-having-sex-just-talking, and that is clearly not the move of a man who is only obsessed with sex.

He mentions that he was a touring drummer for a long time; he does this fake name drop a few times, where he says he doesn't want to name-drop, but these musicians/producers/etc he was recently hanging out with and talking about life and music with, they're pretty well known (but he shouldn't say their names, but They're Famous!). Now he's a self-proclaimed aging hipster in SE Portland, with two walls full of vinyl records, one wall of literature and literary criticism, and a TV on which he is running a "cheesy" interracial (straight) gang bang porno (sound off). He feels a little guilty, he says, about spending a Monday night watching cheap porno and talking to a phone sex operator. I laugh and say, I don't know, that sounds like a great way to spend a Monday night. I tell him to keep wanking to the porno, but to stop calling himself any kind of hipster, that is not a label that one can apply to oneself. He has told me in the past a little about the music that he's doing now; in this particular phone call, he tells me about the copywriting executive he's currently fucking. We talk about Powell's Books. You'd be stunned how much I spend there, he says. No, I wouldn't, I say. I know how tempting the stores are.

I reveal to him little things, just to keep a ring of authenticity in my voice and because there is not room for an entirely new persona on the front of an index card. But I mix it up between true and false. I know about Powell's Books (true), or I mostly wear glasses (true), I have reddish-blonde hair (false), I wear cowboy boots (true), I was a semi-professional modern dancer (false, although I did dance) and now am a writer and perform other things (true). I try to give him enough to forestall any deeper questioning, offering only part of the truth.

Yes, and during the first two calls of the series, I was super careful to check in with him about the timing; I didn't want him to think that I was deliberately trying to distract him, string him along. I'm just following his lead, I assure him, and he says he knows it's true.

It is true, but in spite of the needed boost to my call volume today, I kinda wish he'd go ahead and just get off already. The pressure of "being real" is wearing on me a little.

CALL OF THE DAY: He needs me to say “Yes”

He's an ass man, but he wants a particular kind of ass: mother-daughter ass, to be precise. And not just any kind of mother-daughter ass, but particularly mother-pre-teen-daughter ass, and one that is particularly willing. He wants to know that the prospect of me getting my 10-year-old daughter's ass ready for him Turns Me On.

This is an essential part of my skill set, that I be able to act authentically aroused. There are a few calls where I need to sound violated (rape fantasies), angry (extreme domme), or utterly indifferent (the humiliation calls), but for the most part, I am supposed to sound like what the caller wants is absolutely getting me hot and I couldn't imagine doing anything else at that moment. I can convey that emotion in a lot of different ways.

But no. This guy wants me to SAY IT, repeatedly, that it Turns Me On. He prompts me to say it at regular intervals, and it irritates me every time he asks for it. It is not enough for me to go "Mmmmmm!" and "Ahhhhh!" and "Oh, that little pucker is twitching, she is so ready for it!" That is not clear enough. I have to SAY IT, that this turns me on.

I have nothing against lying, in this context. My entire work in phone sex is suspended on a delicate, beautiful tissue of untruths. I give him what he wants, a perverted version of Yes Means Yes, enthusiastic consent, the most boisterous, joyful co-conspirator you could ask for in a pre-teen buggery fantasy.

But outside of the call, of course I wonder. Is he so uneasy in his own fantasies that he is uncomfortable inhabiting them by himself? How much does he want to feel that he is not alone in being a pervert? How much is this true for any of my callers? He seems to want to believe that I am not just making this story up for money, but that I actually enjoy it, that I get so wet, that this is my desire, too. I imagine many callers' fantasy logic as follows: if I am not alone in thinking about this act, then I am not weird. Maybe this guy  just needs the explicit, verbal statement to believe it.

It is one of my burning desires, on a social-change level, that people could just look at their fantasies and not feel weird, that they have people to share it with who will say Yes. Almost surely this caller does not have anyone closer than me to say it to him. So yes, I will Say It. I will Say Yes, I Want It, and keep wondering.

Please don’t ask me this question anymore…

Often, when I tell someone new that I'm a phone sex operator, they say, "Oh! How long did you do that?" Notice the the use of past tense. The assumption is, of course, that my time in phone sex was in the past, that I am no longer doing it, that I have left it behind and moved on to my obviously successful and lucrative career in playwriting and solo performance.

<pause for laugh break>

Yes. I find that hilarious, too.

I am glad that my profile and branding and visibility is high enough at this point that people think I must doing well, but really... it's mostly PR. I need to make people think that I'm already big news, so they don't want to miss me, so they want to book me. This isn't marketing hyperbole, as much as it is simply my M.O.: I fake it 'til I make it. I am sure a lot of emergent performers do this, putting out their hype just slightly ahead of their performance curve, and stepping up to the plate with a prayer on every slightly shallow breath.

I am also quite sure that my colleagues in performance, those of us hovering around the same level of visibility and exposure and gig income... most of us have second jobs. Maybe even third jobs, but definitely second ones. Whether it's the time-honored food-service position, or consulting gigs in tech writing, or office jobs, or arts administrators at various levels, or yes, phone sex... we have to make money somehow while we are striving to make money in some other way.

But not all of these second jobs are treated the same way. People accept without comment that actors might perform and continue to wait tables, or that playwrights would write in the evenings, after they've left the office. What is it about phone sex, and sex work in general, that makes it so hard to reconcile with other aspirations?

I don't have all the answers, I never do. I just have thoughts, and they are these:

First of all, it is a not-unheard-of approach for writers to dip into some exotic field or lifestyle and then dip right back out when they've got enough material. I wonder if people assume that naturally I'd have followed that trajectory, because my first play Phone Whore is about phone sex, and, you know... Why would I still be doing phone sex, if I got what I needed from it, i.e. grist for the mill?

Oh, wait. What if I wasn't doing it for the research? What if I needed the actual money? What if I still need the money? What if this option is, in fact, preferable to other paying-the-bills options?

Okay. It has become kind of okay to say, in some circles, that you did a little sex work, if you put it down to fun or research or empowerment. If you did sex work strictly for the money, you can only really admit it if you put it in the past, and remove any element of choice about it, as much as possible. To buy nice clothes? Not desperate enough. We're talking paying for college, making money after a layoff, getting off the streets. In the past. In the popular cultural understanding, sex work is a last resort, and if it happened in the past, it means that you boot-strapped your way out of a terrible situation and props to you, and now you can leave that all behind you. We can only talk about "degrading situations" if we've triumphed over them, or if we're actively working on getting out. That is the way a feel-good narrative works.

But saying out loud, in a broad-daylight way, that one does sex work for money, that one is currently doing it, that one has no immediate, focused, near-future plans for not doing it... that looks, to the outside eye, suspiciously like "giving up on ourselves". "Undervaluing ourselves." Obviously "not motivated enough".  Bleah. You know what? I felt a lot less valued in the office job I got laid off from in 2009, and I was getting a lot less of my own creative work done. But people think "sex work" = "unmotivated", which doesn't mesh with how they see me. Not that I need to break stereotypes, but...

POW. Did that hurt when your brain blew out sideways?

The truth is, there are many reasons why sex workers are doing the work we do, and as with any profession, some of us desperately want out, some love it, or are just fine with it, and some are doing it, with greater or lesser degrees of enthusiasm, until our other plans pan out.

I fall in this last category, for sure. I do want to make my living writing and performing. But I don't see what I'm doing as "rescuing myself". I'm working toward success in performance, not away from some tragically wasted life in phone sex, boo hoo. No. I still do phone sex, and I'm really, really good with doing phone sex right now, and I'm in no particular rush to leave it, BELIEVE IT.

When I "make it", when I get to the point that I make all my living in performance, I will tell people  the periods of my employment in phone sex, if it's relevant, but I won't hide this life, or refer to it as a wacky little phase, or a terrible time that I got through. This is a decent fucking job that I've held for four years. It can be isolating as hell, and it's a little marginal right now, but it's easier on my feet than food service. And doing phone sex does more than pay the bills. It inspired my first play, and feeds my soul and my mind in a way that no other job ever has.

So my question to you is: why should I be so eager to leave that?

No, I can’t iron and get you off at the same time.

My director showed me the first draft of the Phone Whore screenplay this week. Since I know nothing about exterior shots and zooms and cuts, we decided that the best way to adapt the original script is to have him get in and make the breaks and add the action, and then I look over it to make sure that we haven't lost what it is that I want the whole thing to say.

Checks and balances. Thank god they're there, because I already called him out on one key thing. At a certain point he had my character on a call and checking email at the same time. I did a double-take when I read that, I very consciously and carefully re-read that particular passage, to make sure I hadn't mistaken how he had laid the scene out. Nope. He had me on a call, and reacting to something on the laptop. My hackles went up, and I had to breathe slow, so that when my director and I talked 10 minutes later, I could tell him this in the middle of my few other script comments:

I don't work that way.

I don't multitask when I'm on a call.

In Phone Whore the play, when I "take a call" on stage, for the duration of that call, I direct my attention over the audience, up to the top of a wall or the EXIT sign at the back of the theater. I am not doing that because I don't know where to look, but because when I'm on a call, that's what I actually do. I go to a green screen in my mind, against which I spin the porno that I am creating for the caller. I don't know what other PSOs do, but that's how I work. I watch that scene, watch my words create it even while I am following it.

It may not look like I am doing anything, and I understood, from the director's point of view, that it is kinda boring for film, but I told him to find some other way to add visual interest and action and dynamism, because the way he wrote it was wrong. Wherever I am sitting or lying, whatever my position, creating the story or encounter is the only thing that I am ever doing while I'm on a call.

Yes, I learned that from experience. I have tried doing phone sex while clicking briefly through Facebook, putting away dishes, even once while getting my pussy fingered, and the result was always the same: I was distracted and I'm sure the call quality suffered. I tried that maybe three times, at the beginning, and now I definitely don't do my calls that way.

More than almost anything else, I resent the implicit stereotype. You know the one I'm talking about. It's in every movie or music video or TV show that references phone sex, the idea that phone sex is easy to do, easy enough to do that you can do it while checking email, while cooking, while holding an iron in one hand and a baby in another. That it doesn't require any particular focus. That it's just a bunch of moaning and groaning and you don't need anything special to do it, not only that, but you can do it while doing anything else.

But you can't. Well, I can't. I have more pride in my work than that. Or maybe I'm just shitty at multitasking. Maybe a bit of both

So I told my director. I told him the only things I might do while on call would be
a) utterly mindless actions that
b) don't make any noise and
c) would be done quickly,
d) in order to prevent a fire alarm or some other loud noise from going off.

Like turning down the heat on a pot of soup or setting my cell phone on silence. That's it. I'm not mixing cookies or even sorting socks, and I'm certainly not checking my email. I'm paying attention. If I'm not, then that porno in my head is going to get weird and wobbly and stupid really quick, and that's not what my clients are paying me for.

This is a phone sex romance

This is how we ended the call...

"Oh, my god, baby! Sorry, I couldn't help it! Shit, I couldn't hold it back anymore!"
- That's okay, papi, I say, if I had known that you liked the idea of me licking my own butt plug after it comes out, I would have held onto that a little longer.
"Yeah, that was super hot. ... So, I wanted to call you before I left. I'm heading out of the country for a few days, hopefully everything will be okay."
- Oh! Is it family problems?
military phone"No, I'm heading over to North Korea."
- What?
"Yeah, there's lots of crazy stuff happening there, it's a real hot spot, but maybe you don't read the news much..."
- No, no, I know what's going over there, I just... I don't think I knew that you're in the military. This isn't Vietnam 35 years ago, but I still get anxious about tense international politics.
"Yeah, that's why I'm so crazy." He changes the subject abruptly. "It's strange to find you on at night."
- Well, I have rehearsals sometimes, and... you know I travel a lot for performances.
"But I don't know specifically what you perform."
- I can't go into a lot of detail.
"Why not?"
- Because I can't make it easy for you to find me.
"I'm not one of those guys, I'm not a stalker!"
- You're in the military, you have ways. We both laugh, then he turns serious.
"No, I know I'm not going to find you. Why would I do that if you don't want me there? I love what we do together, but I'm not that guy. I know you don't want me."

I hesitate. I want to tell him before he goes, give him a belated birthday gift, but I'm not sure he'll believe me.

- Papi.
"Yes, baby."
- You know I talk with a lot of guys.
"Of course. You're really good!"
- Well, I just want to tell you that you're on my shortlist... He starts laughing. No, really, my shortlist of guys that I feel wistful about. There are only four of you, who I think... who I wish it would be possible. You're pretty amazing.
"So are you, sweetheart."
- I think this is as romantic as we get to be. He seriously busts out about that. Papi, will you... will you call me if you don't end up going to Korea? I'll want to know.
"Of course I will. I'll call you as soon as I can."
- Be careful over there.
"I will, baby."

This is how we began the call. ...

"Baby, we missed my birthday, and you need to make up for it. Tell me what you want to do."
- Papi, yo quiero tu palo duro, please, papi, please please!
"That's right. Get down there and show me how much you want it. Put it in your mouth.... there you go. Now I want you to hum 'Happy Birthday' with my dick in your mouth."

********

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