April 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
January 31, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Periodically I go up the the Sirius XM studios so Romaine and I can tag-team caller sex questions, while Derek makes wise cracks about balls or other such delights.
My favorite question last night had to be about how to take a really large cock. It unraveled into us discussing why one should not use Orajel in their pussy. Just don’t. Please. And how maybe using the pointed tip of a bicycle seat with a condom on top as a vaginal dilator might also be not the best idea. Just get a big ol’ silicone toy that you can clean and use with ease. Don’t ruin your relationship with your perfectly innocent bicycle. Please.
Then I had to endure Romaine trying to get me to admit personal information about what I actual give or get in bed. I managed to fend her off and leave her with nothing but titillating hints. This time.
That is rather typical of a call-in night with Derek & Romaine. I love how the listeners of that show can be both so very crude and so very heartwarmingly sweet at the same time.
Walking through Times Square to get to the studio is always such a trip for a former 42nd Street peepshow girl. I feel like I belong on some kind of list of endangered species. My old stomping grounds are no more. But the lights still blare. And this old strip club I once visited still stands. Dishing nudie bits to tourists. Bless their hearts.
August 1, 2012 § 1 Comment
July 11, 2012 § 3 Comments
January 9, 2012 § 10 Comments
I have been cleaning out my archive of letters as I continue to pull together my next book project. Last night I came across a letter from Dian Hanson, inviting me in to her office, dated August of 1995.
Dian was the editor of Leg Show Magazine at the time. As a young, alternative model my dream was to be in Leg Show. The images were always sexy as hell, you could find a variety of types of women in the pages and the photos were not as lewd as many of the other publications out there. My preference was to do flirtatious photos over nudity. Leg Show was just my thing.
The beauty and success of the magazine could be contributed to the lush, erotic mind of Dian Hanson. (She’s now an editor for Taschen.) And meeting her was a real treat for me. Her office alone was like a dirty sideshow museum. Art crawled up the walls and her desk was covered in potential nudie girl spreads for upcoming issues. She’s long, tall and beautiful. I was in heaven!
She was known for her aloofness. And I had seen a guy chase after her in the rudest way at a party once, trying to introduce his model girlfriend to her. It was easy to chalk her attitude up to professionalism.
I remember just a few other details from that meeting. She asked to see the tops and bottoms of my feet. She had me try on a pair of size 4 shoes to see just how little my feet were. And then we talked about settings and how we would dress the shoot.
She explained to me that she liked to use contrasting colors as men were attracted to them. She picked up an image on her desk of a woman posing in front of a blue seamless backdrop, near a fire hydrant, wearing yellow heels, red stockings, yellow panties, a red bra and a yellow rain slicker.
The color combinations were damn near painful to my eyes. Red and yellow? I might mix black stockings with grey panties. Or a light pink bra with white panties… but red and yellow? We both sat there smirking over it. She insisted it was true. This was a color combination that would light men up.
And who was I to argue with Dian Hanson? New York Magazine did a piece on her where she states, ”I’ve made this magazine successful by listening to guys,” Hanson says. “I probe them for the subtleties of their lust.” No one knew legs, panties and men better than Dian.
Yet all these years later I still sit with that image of red and yellow underthings and wonder, really guys? Really?
And so I ask you if you… do you find extremely contrasting colors of lingerie to be sexy? It’s just pure curiosity that has me asking.
January 5, 2012 § 1 Comment
Found on the banks of the river Thames, this old bronze token is considered to be both an early form of money (to be spent in Roman brothels) and, along with the printed word, an example of erotic art that could be easily shared. Read more.
December 22, 2011 § 8 Comments
I snuck into strip club on the arm of a cocaine dealer. I was too naive to know he was a drug dealer. I never thought to question why he hung around the peepshows for hours and never took in a show. But then I never questioned why any of the guys were there. The place was full of women in panties.
He even offered me cocaine one day but I turned him down. His exact words were, “Oh. You’re a good girl in disguise.” He seemed surprised and happy about this. It was a very accurate description of me. He and I became fast friends.
After one of my shifts the two of us were on our way to drink some Old English on the stoops by the parking garage around the corner. But first he had to stop in to Runway 69 to “talk to some guy about a thing.” I was totally tickled to be inside because I was underage for drinking clubs. And I had been dying to know what was going on beyond the black glass windows bouncing neon naked ladies back at me.
The dealer told me to stay put near the door and darted to the back of the room. Once my eyes had adjusted to the dimness, I had them focused on just one thing. The girls.
They were up on a narrow walkway behind the bar. They were so far from the customers and with so little space to move. The wall behind them was pure mirror but they had to stand so close to it that you really could not get the 360-degree you wanted. As a young business woman, all I could think was how I’d hate to be up there. How do they get the tips? How do they even bend over? A showgirl’s got to bend over.
One woman caught my eye. She had that beautiful air of despondence. She bumped her hips and would pick up one foot a little here and there. She just didn’t care. She wore a white spandex thong with white suspenders that pulled her thong tight to her pubic mound. It did not look very comfortable.
She had on pink stilettos and white bobby socks. It all worked so well with the black lights and neon that framed the stripper’s runway. The whole thing looked like a scene from an MTV music video, except with boobs and the scent of cheap perfume, liquor and cigarette smoke.
Then it hit me. That was it! SOCKS. She was wearing socks. All the 8-hour days I had spent in the peepshows, leaning against the doorway of my peepshow booth and spinning on the round stage poles. My arches had become accustomed to the burn and were falling into place but the balls of my feel where developing think calluses. And the cheap five-dollar hooker heels were tearing up my skin. Bobby socks. Socks. In my two months working I had never seen anyone do it.
I tried to explain my great revelation to the dealer as he popped open the beers, putting a straw in mine. He just looked out across the street and ignored me. So I stopped talking.
In the US, we have this stereotype of strippers and dollar bills. We’ve had that pattern since the seventies. A dollar now buys what $0.17 did in 1970. Things like food, rent, and shoes have gotten more expensive, while the standard tip for a stripper has stayed the same for over thirty years. The next time you visit a strip club and think the girls are lackadaisical, remember that you get what you pay for and they’re no longer being paid enough.
December 17, 2011 § 9 Comments
December 17, 2011 § 17 Comments
I knew nothing about sex. My sexuality had been stunted because logic told me that as a poor person I could not afford to get pregnant or diseased. I was gang girl with brass knuckles on both fists. A real tough cookie, but in some ways I was still very naive.
It was my first month working at Show Follies Peepshow Palace. I was 19 and it was also my first look at adult sexuality. I was looking through a Plexiglas window and it was looking back at me.
A man would whisper in my direction “I got a diaper on.”
And I would laugh, “Oh you’re so funny!” Not understanding the man was actually wearing a diaper and was sexually excited by this.
I was starting to become accustom to how things work. Protect your money, give as little as possible, take as much as possible, don’t touch other people’s wigs, lipstick, or boyfriends.
The girls took a liking to me. They had names like Pebbles, Snowy, CoCo, and Star. Just like all the prostitutes and clowns I had ever seen on television! This was exciting! I even changed my name. I became Domino. Like the sugar. Like the game. Domino.
The girls talked me into buying a wig to cover my shaved head. The first time I put it on, they fought in the dressing room over how shitty it looked and who would help me fix it.
I had never had hair and knew nothing about looking like a woman. When I was about to break down in tears, Snowy dropped a tiger striped barrette in the damn thing and sent me out to my booth.
I want you to understand there is a lot of competition between these women. Everyone wants to look the best and make the most money. I must have looked pretty fucking pathetic for everyone to chip in and try to make me look like a woman.
Later that night Snowy showed me how to roll the wig up and turn it inside out to keep it from getting tangled. Once she had set it so nice, I never once took the barrette out or combed it again. The wig developed dreadlocks on the underside. It got nasty. One day I just threw it in the trash on the corner of 47th Street. Bought a new one.
I am a woman now and I’ve seen thousands of men jerk off. They were all slightly shielded by that layer of Plexiglas that separates a live peepshow girl from her client. It was interesting to see the various techniques the men used. The thumb at the topside of the penis shaft and the hand wrapped around like a fist. Most times they would use a smooth, constant pumping action and then end with a few fast strokes. Others got a bit more spastic.
When they would erupt – the sperm – the spunk would sometimes billow out the little hole and roll down their hand. Other times it would shoot straight out and melt down the glass… It was like lava to me. It really scared me.
They would wipe their hands and penis on their shirttails and tuck them back in to their pants, as though nothing had happened.
(Photo: Times Square, circa 1985. From the Bob Fingerman archives.)
December 17, 2011 § 29 Comments
I left Show World on a high note. I left before I was totally burned out. My soul intact. Sure I had my rough days at the peepshows: an attempted assault here or there or people trying to coerce me in various ways. But I had (and still have) a strong sense of self worth, an unflinching ability to not betray my own moral standards, an utter reliance on my natural instincts and a mean violent streak when pushed to defend myself. Being as young as I was and having no family or friends who really had the capacity to care for me- I am surprised I did as well as I did in the sex industry.
I remember taking the taxi home to Harlem, from 42nd Street, in the middle of the night. I had a regular driver. He was passed to me by Pinky, another peepshow girl who had quit. His name was Mikie and he was a big Puerto Rican guy. He would always pull up out front, double park, come in and find me. When I was ready, he would walk me out and drive me home. He’d sit and wait until I was safely inside my building before he would pull away. I know that being my driver was a highlight of his shift. He’d get his nightly eyeful of ladies in underwear and a little wad of extra cash on top.
Pinky had taught me to tip high to ensure his happiness. He was the best, she said. So what ever the fair was (usually about $12) I’d just double it. He was worth it. Mikie ensured my safety. I knew he would get me from the peepshow palace to my door in one piece. He may have been an ogler and would often ask for my best story of the evening, but he was so respectful of me. He was careful with me. I needed him. Because frankly, I was alone in the world. I knew darn well that if I were murdered in an alley, no one would notice I was gone for perhaps weeks or months. I don’t know that there is a feeling lonelier than that one.
Less than a year after I quit Show World I found myself sitting on a park bench on the skirts of Central Park. There was a newspaper someone had left behind. On the front page a story about a murder at Show World. A woman, a mother, a peepshow girl. She had been killed in my old dressing room and her body was not found for eight full hours, an entire shift. She laid there beaten and bleeding to death. At the foot of my locker. Her name was Yvonne Hausley.
I sat on the park bench reading the story and feeling sick. I did not know her. But her story reminded me that no matter how tough I may think I am, a predator finds their way. And they so often target the invisible people in our population… the poor, the foster children, the disabled, the immigrants, sex workers… The best way to fight them is to shine a light on issue and for the vulnerable to shine a light on ourselves.
I am a former sex worker. This is what a sex worker looks like. At any given moment there is an estimated one million sex workers of every gender working in the world. When you include those of us who have left the industry, our numbers are bountiful. We are everywhere. We are your children, your sisters, your brothers, your mothers… we are everywhere.
Today is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. I would like to dedicate this post to Yvonne Hausley and her children. Your mother is not forgotten and may your lives be blessed.