Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Booth Musings

Its this time of year, between Thanksgiving and New Years, that things really start slowing down in the peepshow, and really, North Beach as a whole. With patron's superfluous money being diverted towards gifts, travel expenses, and holiday dinners and time monopolized by the need to work overtime to make up the difference, the Lusty Lady has been downright dead. While this *ouch* hurts all of our paychecks, I have been feeling particularly lonely in Private Pleasures as of late, but have been trying to find ways to keep myself occupied.

Sitting in an aquarium at the end of a chilly hallway left to my own devices, pining to be off and doing something constructive or arty (or even pointless and silly), I started to write down a little bit of information about some of my booth patrons. Don't worry lads and lasses I pinkie promise I will refrain from sharing this information publicly for I often feel like I'm retaining privileged knowledge of individuals I'm not morally or legally obligated to share, like a therapist or religious figure perhaps. However, it has been suggested they would make an interesting Edward Gorey style alphabet book:

A is for Adolf who loves to show his SS tattoo's to me.

B is for Brian who likes to be assaulted by bears.

C is for Clyde who pretends to lick and suck my toes.

D is for David who just goes and goes and goes...

Paired with some silly, and maybe explicit, black and white sketches I think this might make a very unique little pocket book gift...

....or maybe not.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

In addition to good health and stability I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving day, being especially blessed with the presence of some amazingly beautiful creatures whom I can call friends and companions. While it is easy to get sucked into the family dramas and annual holiday suckery, a pitfall I too ended up focusing on all too much while being stuck in the mandatory holiday rounds with antagonistic and judgemental family members, it is important to remind myself of the truly positive experiences and people I have been touched by and learned from.

Thanks to all of you who have helped to bring me out of my shell, however uncomfortable and jarring the experience may have been. Thanks to friends and family that have given their unconditional love and support to my life choices, realizing I don't lead the most conventional life your welcoming ears and shoulders are worth all that much more. I thank everyone that has been, is, and may be part of my continuing journey of self-discovery, self-love, and romping through this world.

Monday, November 22, 2010


After having had some complete dating failures with women I have joined the okcupid.com bandwagon at last. In an effort to dissuade men-folk from sending me messages (really, I have nothing against you guys! I just have my fill at the moment and don't want to waste anyones time) I have explicitly asked them NOT to message me right at the very top of my page. Despite my "looking for" section listing trans, boi, and girlies specifically I still have had 28 messages from men, single and strictly monogamous to boot, within 48 hours.

While I checked them all one by one into the trash file I did pause to read two of them. The first, from a polyamorous hetero-flexible man in a long-term partnership who thought he found a creative loophole in my declaration that men need not apply, managing to glean a chuckle out of me before finally hitting the delete button. My most recent one has left me less than amused, coming from someone with the username dudeguymanman.

This one I didn't even need to open. I mean, really?

I know I know I know it has only been a couple of days but I am seriously starting to doubt that I am going to have the patience for this site despite other's rave reviews. Anyone have any successful secrets they would like to share?

le sigh....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Week, Every Week

Detecting the wear and tear work has done on body and mind, loved ones have recently approached me with concern, asking me just how much I work at the Lusty Lady. Since it was suggested I write out my duties for my own reflection, I have decided to share it with you:

20+ = the number of hours onstage or in PP

3 = for writing and reciting the hotline schedule at 3:00 am for a week at least once a month

10+ = for being a Junior Madam: making the schedule, checking in with dancers, and office work

7+ = if I happen to have the on-call phone

3 = for assistant PR: working on the website, collaborating for fliers, events, and corralling the co-op

1-2= for being on the "Jukebox" committee which entails dealing with the music to be played as we dance

Barring any Board of Directors, co-op, or dancer meetings this adds to about 45 hours a week. It is no wonder I have creaky knees and twitching eyelid.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I leave my apartment early tonight, thinking I might as well take advantage of traveling into the Lusty Lady to absorb some of the San Francisco scenery before starting work. The air is crisp and clear. I protect myself from the early darkness and chilling weather with plenty of layers, leaving only my cheekbones and fingertips exposed.

Reaching BART I realize I've just missed my train, the next one arriving in 17 minutes. I pull out my book Unrepentant Whore, the collected works of Scarlot Harlot, taking care to hide the cover picture of a naked curvy red-headed woman from other expectant passengers. As the minutes go by more and more people headed to the city crowd around the black squares on the platform, encircling my spot at the very front and center; I snap my book closed in fear of having curious eyes read over my shoulder.

Despite my efforts I can tell I'm found out as a pretty dark-haired late-20-something woman nudges her masculine date and points her eyes downwards at what is in my hands. My work bag alone can seem innocuous enough with its pink and gold stripes pointing to nothing but whimsy and eccentricity, but paired with the boxed clearance Halloween heals dangling from my other arm my late-night profession is an easy guess. Damn, I should have remembered to stuff them in a canvas bag before I left...

Self-concious I slide my bags as far under the seat as they will possibly go, hoping the visual dissection will be thwarted. Approaching my stop I shoulder my things and wait before the sliding doors, ready to escape the suburban yuppies coming to eat at 4-star restaurants and to see award winning plays and operas.

Above ground another, older, couple who had been stuck immdeiately behind me on both escalators rolls their eyes in my direction as I start my 10 minute climb into North Beach. I can see the projected stereotypes in the whites of their eyes, the misunderstanding, the misused adjectives, and misnomers.

Instead of soaking up the beautiful San Francisco skyline on my trek I am instead lost in thought and at a loss entirely.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Burn Out

In the spirit of Halloween here is my own ghost story...

In the sex industry the words "burn out" pop up again and again like the words "chicken pox" might in a child's daycare. Its a phantom to all of us dancers at the Lusty Lady and, like the threat of a ghastly chemo-virus in a scary zombie movie, hangs ominously over our heads until we are all gotten, sooner or later. Like a disease sex industry burn out is diagnosed by a series of symptoms that may include but are not limited to: frequent tardiness or absenteeism due to anxiety, self-image and self-projection issues, hostility towards men (customers or otherwise) , and private sex-related issues.

While there are a plethora of interesting articles pertaining to the issue and ways in which one can attempt to cure sex-work burn out there is little information about burn out prevention. Unfortunately, there is no injected inoculation for the phenomena, but hopefully one can keep the disease at bay by using the following self-check ins:

-Assess your mental state prior to taking on such work. If you have high self-esteem and balanced mental faculties make it a goal to stay that way. If you have major body or social issues tap into why you want to pursue sex-work, this may very well be bad medicine for you.

-Before doing whatever kind of sex-work (porn, dancing, escorting etc) check in with your own body and mind and try to assess if you are up to handling the stigmas assigned to sex-workers from yourself, family, friends, and society as a whole. Anticipate having the heavy task of either lying about what you do to everyone around you or battling the stereotypes and negative attitudes.

-Set and keep to boundaries and agreements with yourself, which can mean any number of things and should be different for everyone. Agreements can be related to the amount of time one wants to spend in the industry, what type of work, emotional proximity to patrons, public exposure etc etc. Write them down and remind yourself of them often!

-This may be a bit redundant, but there will always be a need for more money, whether it come from vet bills, car payments, groceries, traveling, or school, and opportunities that may compromise your set agreements will come again and again. No matter how desperate you may be, do not do anything you are not fully comfortable with. Ever.

-Reflect often and well through whatever medium works best for you. Know where your emotions come from and own them. Take charge of your work, do not let it own you.

-Pamper yourself! Any hard worker should be rewarding themselves for the drudgery of everyday obligation but someone using their body for the pleasures of others is more than entitled. Separate work and personal lingerie and accessories, buy cute undies for no one's eyes but your own, treat yourself to manicures, new books, and massage just because and don't forget to give yourself some R and R time.

-Tap into your physical being regularly. Dancing is especially hard on the joints and prone to creating long-term injury. Don't be afraid to tell physicians what you do as the more information they know the better they are able to help you. If for whatever reason you are not comfortable being open with your regular doctor check local resources for sex-worker clinics and friendly space.

Of course this cannot be taken as a how-to or a cure-all and I am sure there are plenty of other factors that contribute to burn out and there are probably (and hopefully) many other ways to prevent the phantom from appearing. If burn out begins to take over I can only stress that the first means of curing the crippling monster is to admit that it exists and to face it head on, whatever that may mean.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Change of Plans

The first of November arrived without me really having made up my mind about what I wanted to do about school this year. I put off opening my email until the very end of the day, desperately trying to delay finding out my LSAT results. 153, not terrible as I made it out to be at first as it is still above average, but not amazing. The results paired with my GPA (around a 3.5) probably would get me into one or more of the bay area law schools, but after further contemplation I've decided that if I were to settle for just whatever school I could get into would be to rush through life again, a bad habit I am trying desperately hard to escape.

To further settle my internal argument I found that the average age of law school admittance is 26. I'm 22; why the hell do I want to put myself through all this mess now when I still have 4 years on the average?

I have decided to delay only another year more, during which time I am going to focus more on building my own interests and independence. Within the next few months, when my friend and elected superior chooses to vacate the position, I plan to apply for the Lead Madam position, which would give me the responsibility of the day-to-day functions of coordinating the dancers at the Lusty Lady. Also, I would like to start writing a complete history of the SF Lusty Lady, using my degree in the way it was intended. In addition, I'd like to travel, though the destinations are now unknown, to perform, despite my lack of experience, to express myself
artistically through writing and my many crafts, and to read voraciously.

Ok, so this is not an entirely seperate course from what I had previously envisioned, but this path is certainly different from what I have ever done before. This next year will be about me and whatever I choose to get myself into, though I am anticipating both and internal and external struggles to be sure. Unplanned futures are not accepted from recent graduates and I am sure my choices are going to unsettle many in my wake.