Hi guys, Jef here. Let's drop the royal we for the duration of this and talk like regular folks with severe mental problems.
This was a big year for me at the Houston Press, and also the first year that I got to attend the blogger holiday party. Since I do most of my work at home, or occasionally from inside the walls of a state institution with crayons, I don't actually get to meet the people that I work with. A shindig in Montrose with free booze seemed like Heaven on Earth, and it's where I discovered a very comforting fact; All writers are crazed perverts, meaning it wasn't just me. it's was like being wrapped in a very warm, and somewhat crusty, blanket.
Case in point: Someone mentioned wanting to become a dominatrix and I had one's e-mail address queued up in my phone as well as a wealth of advice. It's that kind of group, and I loved every minute of it.
That being said, as the night wore on I realized that I had more than a few stories about brushes with the sex industry that went below and beyond that of my colleagues, and Lauren Marmaduke suggested they might make for an interesting article. So even though I've yet to work in the sex industry myself at this point, here's some tales from the fringes.
Medical Grade Pornography Is Freakin' Terrible
To acquire the Kid With One F we had two options. We could take our chance on international adoption while spending years and thousands of dollars on something that may not pay off, or going through fertility treatments, which is the same thing but with less travel. We went with the latter.
Understandably, this process requires a lot of semen, and semen is like a vampire. It has to be invited. I figure I masturbated in a crowded office building roughly a hundred times over the three years we spent in this quest, and I'm amazed that I was able to pull it off because of what I had to work with.
There's your wanking room, and the wanking room has a TV and a DVD player with a disc of pornography. I don't know whose job it is to acquire the porn, but they certainly don't take much pride in their work because what I was repeatedly subjected to was videos of people who could not possibly have wanted to have sex with each other less. Seriously, these people went through the sex act with as much goodwill and cooperation as the Israelis and the Palestinians go through peace talks.
It was so bad that whoever produced these marvels of impotence felt the need to go back and dub in voices of people who were actually good at sex over the dead eyes and closed mouths of the actors. The result was like watching a very bad ventriloquist show. Do be warned, fellas. If you're going to have to give a semen sample for any reason, load something up on your iPhone because what they provide isn't going to cut it.
Pizza, and Why I Don't Go to Strip Clubs
The main reason I don't go to strip clubs is that I've never had only 48 hours to solve a crime, but there is another reason as well. I used to deliver pizza in East Houston, and as far as jobs go I give it a pretty good grade. The tips were nice, the work was solid, and only two of the people I ever worked with were shot at, which in East Houston is well below the average.
Occasionally I would get called out to deliver pizza backstage at an I-10 all-nude place early in the evening so the girls could have a snack before shaking it. This was not nearly as awesome as it sounds even though, yes, there were many titties involved.
First of all, a strip club with all the lights on is like a dirty limousine; once you've seen one the experience has been ruined forever. After that little bit of shattered sex magic, we were directed to the dressing room where three topless girls were waiting for me. Remember what I said about clubs with the lights on? Seeing strippers in bright fluorescents is pretty much the same thing. Secondly, strippers think letting you see them topless counts as a tip, which I guess it would if I could pay rent with nipples.
By the time business had been completed the club was usually open, and I was treated to the site of a girl lying on the stage with her legs behind her head. Gathered around her were three middle-aged men, drinking Lone Star and silently looking at her vagina exactly the way the cast of King of the Hill looks at a car engine. Let's just say I've lost my ability to comprehend the glitz of the strip club experience.
I Kind of Miss Living Across the Street from a Brothel
Greenridge is a street just west of 610 that connects Richmond and Westheimer. It's less than a mile long, has a couple of apartment complexes, a karaoke bar, and when I lived there an "Executive Retreat." The place, long since gone in Ike, was a ramshackle, two-story affair, and the people who worked in it constantly made their presence known in my life.
The apartment complex was very clear when I moved in that they did not accept rent in cash, with a knowing glance at the brothel, and I assured them that paying with a check would not be a problem because so far I haven't yet found a way to make someone give me money for sex. For the most part, the prostitutes and other employees were quiet neighbors, much better than the karaoke bar that refused to shut down at 2 a.m., and watching the kind of people who came and went was a fascinating exercise in human behavior.
Their best business was done in the mornings. Their parking lot was always fullest from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and Christmas and Thanksgiving were also always packed. You'd see the girls come and go, and they were always quick with a wave and smile. They kept their area neat, they never made any noise, the cops never swarmed the place, though they did the bar twice. All in all, we almost never had any trouble with them.
Except the night one of them made a very poor chemical choice and stood out in the middle of the street trying to drum up business by claiming that her "pussy looks just like Britney Spears." That went on for about an hour until their bouncer, a man so large, broad and black that we bet naked he resembles that big piece of honeybar from 2001: A Space Odyssey, gently led her back inside for some rest. Other than that, though, yeah, living next to a whorehouse was pretty sweet.
Not Everyone Is Cut Out for the Sex Industry
This one is for the girls. Ladies, I'm sure most of you think in the back of your minds that if all else failed someone would pay to watch you take your clothes off, watch you have sex or have sex with you. You can be old, fat, hairy, missing limbs, and any race on the planet and that doesn't matter because there are pornography genres for all those things. I'm here to tell you that not everyone gets to fall back on smut.
I had an acquaintance, let's call her Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell flitted in and out of my life like a herpes flare-up, always with some new sad story of failed debauchery. I had driven her to a strip club audition once because, well, I didn't really have a lot going on that day and I thought some time in the future I might be able to make some money out of the story. After I waited in the car quietly reading Heinlein for about 20 minutes Tinkerbell came out in tears because they wouldn't hire her as a stripper. "Tits too small, ass too big, too many tattoos," they said.
Later, Tinkerbell claimed a porn career, and we were intrigued enough to investigate. Apparently she'd shot some scenes with a long-running producer who had found her work to be of so unsatisfactory a nature that he'd decided not to use it. Bear in mind what we said while we were talking about medical grade porn, and be utterly taken aback by the concept.
Last I heard she was kicked from Craigslist for offering massages and encouraging clients to "ask about the Greek special." So yeah, stay in school, girls, because this safety net doesn't catch everybody.
How Can You Be Bored Stabbing Your Tit with Needles?
The Dare Ware Fetish Ball was always a big event on the Houston goth community calendar. Most of us have worked at an adult toy store at some point, just as most of us have been DJs, handicrafters, shaved off our eyebrows and donned tiny hats. It's just the way we goths do things.
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The Fetish Ball always promised a Romanesque night of kinky sex and mind-blowing hedonism, and I never really got that from the experience. These kind of get-togethers are like nude beaches, it's never, ever who you want to see naked, and there really is too much Star Trek discussion going on for my tastes.
The last time I went, the big act of the night was a Mistress Something or Other, who would be incorporating fire and needles into her performance. She stripped, melted fake skin off of a skull, then proceeded to pierce her nipples in front of the crowd with some wicked looking needles.
Now, this might sound shocking, and I won't deny a certain jaded point of view, but we were looking more at the Mistress's face than anything else. It was very clear from her expression that she wasn't thinking, 'Oh God, this is so dirty and wrong, I am so excited. Look at all these people looking at me doing this to myself." We're willing to bet that her thoughts were more of the "I wonder if Shipley's stays open all night. I could murder a bear claw right now."
And if the person putting holes in their cherished areas isn't getting anything out of it, then we sure aren't.