Saturday, April 27, 2013

creating a/broad, April 27, 2013

When one does not get it
by Cameryn Moore

Someone hit me up on Facebook earlier this week asking how much a call with me would cost. If this were something I wanted to entertain—an unsolicited approach from a real-life acquaintance—I would have already had the infrastructure in place. I would have an adult-services-friendly payment system, along with an appropriate URL with a rate sheet on its own little page. This has happened to me more than once; if I took customers through any channels other than my company, I would have already had my intake process in place. 

But I don’t do that. My company doesn’t want me working “off the grid”; all customers come through them. I told him I wouldn’t do that, he persisted for a few more minutes via the Facebook chat box, and then finally stopped, visibly confused. I wrote a post the next morning, and I’m all good, but I can’t shake the feeling, that, well, his confusion is understandable. I’m so public about every goddamn thing in my sex life, how is this different? I deserved it…

Oops. That sounds familiar.

I get to set the terms, right? 

I’ve written before about how I flirt with people pretty much nonstop as part of my street-promotion strategy. I’ve also written—I think I have—about the blur that performers experience when they handle sex or sexual themes or sexy costumes on stage. Some audience members have a hard time distinguishing that what they are performing isn’t necessarily who they are. In fact, it’s probably not. 

So I think I’ve laid the groundwork enough that I can be honest with you: at moments like these, when I am being approached to do something for someone that I actually do for other people, something that I have performed about extensively and talked about publicly… I have to check in with my beliefs about brand and boundaries.

Because my brand is not really at all distinguishable from me. In any way. Who I am and what I do on stage is often a direct reflection of me. I get naked anywhere, in front of just about anyone with whom I feel comfortable. I talk about stuff pretty graphically in all of my spaces: work, play, FB, everywhere. And I play phone sex on stage, and I do it off as well. I can kind of understand his confusion, like I said. And yet…

I get to set the terms, right? Even if I do it with other people—“it” being ANYTHING that I do with people that someone else thinks might be fun—I get to self-select who I do that with. Just because I talk flirtatiously on the stage or to my lover, or hell, to a random potential patron, in front of someone, doesn’t mean that they can assume that I will adopt the same tone with them, or be hurt when I don’t. 

If anything, I’m trying to close the gap.

I think one way actors try to avoid this problem is by not playing themselves. Burlesquers, for example, they take off the glitter and the corsets and what-all, and you wouldn’t recognize some of them at the grocery store. They are deliberately trying to put space between themselves and that self. Whereas I am not trying to put space there. If anything, I’m trying to close the gap. I want to keep playing myself as close to Real Me as possible. I remember, after a Fringe friend had seen Phone Whore and before he made a major, earth-rattling reveal about his own sexuality, he asked me: are you as open-minded in real life as you are on stage? That was the only reason he felt safe enough to talk with me, and that is reason enough for me to keep being myself, open and authentic and really me, for as long as I can. For as long as the plays demand it.

I’m not willing to flip the switch from ON to OFF.

But I can see where this might get a bit confusing to people. Does she really mean it? I think the thing is this: just because I give approval one time for one thing, doesn’t mean that you automatically have the right to expect that from me at any other time, with anybody else. I don’t deserve to be harassed or propositioned. I deserve to be treated with respect when I say:

Just because I do phone sex with my clients, doesn’t mean that I’ll do phone sex with you. Just because I get naked in my show, doesn’t mean I’ll get naked for you. Just because I will talk dirty on the sidewalk, doesn’t mean that I’ll talk dirty in your ear, when I’m caught between you and the wall at the diner. No, I will not give you a sample of my phone sex voice. No, I will not lean over to give you a better view of my tits. The stuff I wear shows them exactly as much as I feel like showing them. I mean, I might, but it’s better odds for you if you let me do the approach.

This piece is starting to feel ranty.

I’m not willing to flip the switch from ON to OFF. Or rather, I don’t want to install that switch in the first place. I don’t currently have one, I don’t have a boundary between my performance and my business and my personal, and I don’t want one there. I enjoy that ON energy too much. But for a split second there, I wondered if I will have to, for my own security. 


Fuck you, dude, who asked for my business number. You totally got in the way of my flow.

1 comment:

  1. I so know what you're talking about! Some men seem to assume that because I'm willing to talk about just about anything, and that I sometimes sell sex, that I'll do just about anything with anyone, especially for money. When I tell them "no" they try to sweet-talk me into it, then get bent out of shape when I remain steadfast.

    Men, whether you're hoping to be a hookup or a client, please note the following:

    I'm a slut and a whore, not a doormat.

    "Did" does not equal "will."

    "No" does not equal "yes," unless we have clearly negotiated otherwise, in which case there will be another word which means "no."

    The customer is not always right. The fact that you are offering me money does not mean I am required to accept your money or provide the service you are requesting.

    I am allowed to change my mind.

    If you cannot accept all of this, the problem is not me. It's you.


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