TRUE CONFESSION: occasionally… I multitask

I don't do my nails or crossword puzzles. That seems like a tricky combination. Illustration posted with permission, (c) Les Toil

I don’t do my nails or crossword puzzles. That seems like a tricky combination. Illustration posted with permission, (c) Les Toil

The images of phone sex out in the world still annoy me. You know, the ones that linger out there from movies and music videos, with the woman on the phone ironing and a baby on her hip, or grocery shopping, making stereotypical sexy noises (“mmmm, yeah, oh baby”) while in the middle of something very non-sexy.

It makes for a good picture, the heightened contrast. The juxtaposition of hot-n-sexy and so-pedestrian makes for funny, and I think that is what always bothered me about it. It focuses the joke on the caller, like they are so dumb or horny or both that they can’t tell how fake the operator is being, which we, the viewer, only know because we can see where the operator is. Hell, they can’t even tell that she’s surrounded by canned goods. How gullible they must be! What losers!

Now, I don’t believe that my callers are inherently losers, by virtue of them calling. But I have learned that, for a few of them, I can actually and literally phone in my performance. Yes, I have my own version of a baby on my hip. Occasionally, I am not giving my caller 100 percent of my attention.

<hangs head in shame>

I am careful, though! I keep my multitasking in the relatively private confines of my flat, and I don’t do anything that involves the possibility of noise. Baby, or baby-sized cat, on my hip? Nope. They could cry or meow at any moment, a foot away from the receiver. Something in the kitchen? Yes, if there’s no banging of pots or oven doors involved. I only multitask on things that don’t require me to use my verbal abilities; writing FB status updates in the middle of a call is something that I only recently learned I could do, very slowly, two or three careful letters at a time.

Also I only pick the calls where I honestly don’t think it’ll matter, where the caller just isn’t going to notice. The seven-minute calls always matter, even if they’re not demanding much from me in the way of response, because the timing is crucial. I have seven minutes to get them from intro to “thanks, sorry I couldn’t help with the cleanup” and a friendly laugh. So even if all they want is someone moaning and groaning, I still have to be present to listen and make sure that all of the aural pressure points are hit.

The calls where I am contributing at least half of the conversation, those too, I stay focused. If I am steering the narration-ship, I need to keep both hands on the wheel and a keen eye on the weather. (With the notable exception of Extreme Top, see below.) And obviously, the calls with the guys who I like, I’m there for.

So what are the calls that don’t matter as much?

  • The Strangler. A bit of whimpering and “no no no” during the first five minutes, and then it’s just choking for the last half of the, um, conversation, because he’s just saying, over and over, “Rape you. Strangle you. Rape you. Strangle you.” He is somewhere else entirely. He does not need any response other than a generic wheeze.
  • Extreme Top. Not always, but sometimes he’ll segue into a new vignette and I’ve heard it before, I know what he’s getting at, and I know I’ll have two or three minutes where I just sound tormented and turned on at whatever he’s saying, and that’s enough to keep him happy and leave me room for texting someone, or checking the rice timer.
  • Rollercoaster Man (manic phase). When he’s down and depressed, I stay with him. When he is riding high, my contributing anything to the conversation almost seems to throw him off balance. He just wants space to ramble, for a half-hour to an hour at a time, so I just let him. Careful, slow tweets or status updates are what might happen when I’m on the phone with him.

Looking over this, I sigh. I used to feel such a strong pride in being fully present at all times. But I’ve gotten a little more pragmatic, I suppose. If he can’t tell, then why shouldn’t I save a bit of energy for myself? It’s like the Turing Test for phone sex: if they believe that I’m turned on and listening, isn’t that enough?


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